Shelf-life of 151 pasteurized milk samples was recorded and correlation coefficients calculated using various microbiological factors: standard plate count (SPC), psychrotrophic plate count (PPC), coliform count (CC), and the impedance response detection time (DT) with incubation at both 21 and 32°C. These data were obtained for milk samples on the day of pasteurization as well as 4 and 8 d thereafter. Various treatments (media, dilution factors, temperature and sample volume) were compared. Of the SPC, PPC, CC and DT taken on the day of pasteurization, only the DT achieved a significant correlation with shelf-life. A correlation coefficient of 0.55 was obtained for one treatment applied to 61 samples and correlation coefficients of 0.28 to 0.32 were obtained for several other treatments applied to the entire 151 samples. Values as large as these could occur by chance in uncorrelated data with p<0.0005. Thus, of the total 61 samples, 80% were correctly classified by the impedance detection time test. It is concluded that for prediction of shelf-life on the day of pasteurization, the impedance method is superior to the SPC and the PPC. In addition, the impedance method is more rapid, i.e., 14 h vs.2 d for the SPC and 10 d for the PPC.

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