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Risk factors associated with selected indicators of milk quality in semiarid northeastern Brazil



Risk factors associated with selected indicators of milk quality in semiarid northeastern Brazil



Journal of Dairy Science 94(6): 3166-3175



The aim of this study was to gain information on quality traits, mainly bacterial and somatic cell counts of bulk milk, produced by small- and medium-scale producers in a semiarid northeastern region of Brazil and to identify and characterize possible risk factors associated with those quality traits. A cross-sectional study was performed on 50 farms. Bulk milk samples were collected for bacterial and somatic cell counts. Additionally, information about farm demographics, general management practices, hygiene, and milking procedures was also obtained. Multivariable analysis using logistic regression was performed with predictors previously identified by univariate analysis using a Fisher's Exact test. Aerobic mesophilic bacteria counts varied from 3.59 log to 6.95 log cfu/mL, with geometric mean of 5.27 log cfu/mL. Mean total coliform count was 3.27 log (1.52 log to 5.89 log) most probable number (MPN)/mL, whereas mean thermotolerant coliforms was 2.38 log (1.48 log to 4.75 log) MPN/mL. A high positive correlation was observed between aerobic mesophilic bacteria and coliform counts. Although most farms met the standard for the current regulations for total bacteria (88%) and somatic cell counts (94%), nearly half of the producers (46%) would have problems in achieving the 2012 threshold limit for total bacteria count if no improvement in milk quality occurs. Mean value for staphylococci was 3.99 log (2.31 log to 6.24 log) cfu/mL, and Staphylococcus aureus was detected in 33 (66%) farms. Premilking teat-end wash procedure (odds ratio=0.191) and postmilking teat dip (odds ratio=0.67) were associated with lower aerobic mesophilic bacteria and Staphylococcus aureus counts in bulk milk, respectively. Considering that the farm characteristics in this study are representative of the semiarid northeastern region, these findings encourage further investigations for supporting intervention measures intended to improve the quality of milk produced by smallholders.

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Accession: 055579844

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 21605786

DOI: 10.3168/jds.2010-3471


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