Milk Microbe Study can Improve Food Safety

By Alex Batty, MHI Marketing Communications Coordinator |@mhi_alex

More milk news! The reason it keeps coming up is because transporting milk and milk products is kind of a big deal. It’s a delicate balance to transport these products and supply chain takes care of 90% of that responsibility. Recently, UC Davis researchers have been studying the microbes in milk, which actually vary from season to season. The study, “The Core and Seasonal Microbiota of Raw Bovine Milk in Tanker Trucks and the Impact of Transfer to a Milk Processing Facility” (what a mouthful) takes a close look at the diversity of these microbes and how they impact milk products. The microbes that can cause diseases are destroyed during pasteurization, which is really good news for not getting sick, but not all bacteria, i.e. the once that make milk spoil, are eliminated during the process, which is not so good news for supply chain.

The researchers started by analyzing raw cow’s milk from 899 (not 900, go figure) tanker trucks arriving at two different dairy processors in the San Joaquin Valley during spring, summer, and fall. They discovered that the most diverse bacterial communities were in the milk samples collected during the spring. Which makes sense: it’s spring. The weather is warming up, the sun is shining, the bees are buzzing, the bacteria are diversifying…

The good news is that discovering and identifying these microbes helps dairy processors develop new sanitation procedures and process controls, preventing spoilage and ensuring that their dairy products are safe and high quality.

I don’t know about you, but I like my cheese to be high quality, so I’m stoked.

You can read the full report with all the science and math and data and charts at