What can milk be tested for?

Discussion in 'Goats' started by homebirtha, Aug 5, 2005.

  1. homebirtha

    homebirtha Well-Known Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Can you test milk for brucellosis and TB? I know you can check somatic cell counts, although I'm not sure how helpful that information is. And you can have cultures done to see what bacteria is in the milk. Anything else that can be checked in the milk to make sure it's safe?
  2. citygoatwoman

    citygoatwoman Member

    Apr 21, 2005
    you can test milk for listeria, e.coli, among others. the lab can look for specific bacteria, though i found it can get expensive. my opinion: if your goats act and appear healthy, if they eat fresh, unmoldy feed, and your milking practices are sanitary, and the milk is cooled quickly, then the milk should be good and safe! i did, however, do the somatic count, which just shows the *overall* bacteria count, doesn't tell you which ones specifically. the lab tech reported that it was the cleanest raw milk she'd ever seen. she asked me twice if i'd pasteurized it.

  3. Julia

    Julia Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 2003
    You're confused. :) Plate counts tell you how many bacteria are growing in your milk; somatic cell counts are an indication of whether or not the dairy animal tested is mounting an immune response to disease within the udder, i.e. mastitis. Bacteria can get in your milk either premilking or post milking, and you solve each problem differently.

    Don't mean to rain on your parade, but generally when milk shows no bacterial growth by the time it makes it to the lab, there's something inhibiting it---either antibiotics from insufficient withdrawal time after treating an animal, or insufficient rinsing of utensils after sanitizing. It's not usually a good thing.

    As far as TB and Brucellosis go, you test the animal, not the milk. And you can test milk for any pathogen (although it's expensive), but it won't get you much since you'll have to do it again on the next milking to be sure of anything. Listeria bacteria (which cause listeriosis) are ubiquitous---everywhere in the soil---and whether or not your milk tests postive for them can change from milking to milking, depending on how you've handled the milk.

    It's not as easy as just testing once, and figuring everything is OK. It's an ongoing task that you have to have some understanding of, or you're just gambling.