Plate loop counts and standard plate counts on each of several manufacturing grade raw milk samples (handled in cans or in farm bulk tanks) have been compared. On the average, the plate loop count (PLC) was lower than the standard plate count (SPC) regardless of the type of handling of milk on the farm, can or bulk tank. Agreement between the SPC and PLC seemed to depend upon the bacterial-count levels present in milk. Statistical analyses indicated significant differences, at 1% level of probability, between the average bacterial count by SPC and PLC methods regardless of count level (≤100,000/ml or >100,000/ml) in case of can milk samples. On the other hand, in case of farm bulk tank milk samples, no significant differences, at the 1% level of probability, between the average bacterial count by SPC and PLC methods were obtained, when the counts were equal to or less than 100,000 per ml; when the counts exceeded 100,000 per ml, significant differences were present. Since the bacterial counts of manufacturing grade raw milk samples are likely to exceed 100,000/ml, the data presented in this investigation indicate that, until the bacteriological quality of manufacturing grade milk supplies undergoes substantial improvement, the PLC method does not appear to be a suitable substitute for the SPC method for routine bacteriological examination of such milk supplies.

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Author notes

1Scientific Journal Series Paper No. 6129, Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station.

2This work was supported in past by the United States Department of Agriculture and the Minneapolis-St. Paul Quality Control Laboratory.

3Present address: Market Quality Research Service, Field Crop and Animal Products Branch, Plant Industry Station, U. S. Department of Agriculture, Beltsville, Maryland.