In the mountainous highlands of South
Africa, developing farmers are
shareholders in a dairy factory that manufactures fresh milk, yoghurt,
drinking yoghurt, maas (a fermented milk product) and a small number of
Gouda and Cheddar cheeses. The products are sold to the +/- 600 000 locals
living in and around the nearby town.
The milk is supplied by the 40
shareholders to the factory, all living
within a 70 kilometre radius from the factory. Only two of the farmers have
milking parlours and produce about 800 litres and 400 litres of milk
respectively. The other farmers are lacking milking facilities completely.
The animals are of mixed breeds, feed on natural grasslands and pastures and
despite winter rainfall and snow, no supplementary green feed is given to the
animals. The factory needs 13 000 litres of milk per day, but due to a
recent draught, only about 6 000 litres of milk are received daily. This
a typical example of the seasonal impact on milk production in rural areas.
Poor hygiene practices will have a totally detrimental effect on the
viability of the venture.
In South Africa the concept of collection
points for receiving raw milk is
not regularly used in the rural areas. In this case, milk is transported by
light open truck, horse or donkey cart, tractor and bicycle to three
collection points. Payment is determined by the volume of milk supplied by
the farmer and is only accepted after it complies with the alcohol test. The
milk is then being taken to the dairy factory by three tankers. At the
factory total counts, coliforms and E.coli counts are determined.
3. Training and recommendations
Training was provided for the group of farmers
(including the women),
collection point personnel and the factory personnel. A training manual and
training material was composed consisting of the following modules:
- Personal hygiene
- Micro-organisms: importance
- Micro-organisms: destruction
- Micro-organisms: control
- Cleaning and disinfection
- General cleaning
Personal hygiene was the
first subject on which the farmers were trained. A
simple, effective hygiene routine already positively influences the
microbiological quality of raw milk.
Milking machines are great sources of
contamination and hand milking often results in milk of a higher
microbiological standard, provided that both animal and handler are healthy.
Emphasis was placed on the area being used for milking the cows to be, as far
as possible, free from any excreta. It is also preferable not to feed the cow
whilst milking is in progress. The
farmers were advised to wash the udder after which it has to be dried with a
paper towel. If there is no municipal water available, only pre-boiled water
should be used. Almost none of the farmers used antibiotics to treat
mastitis. The concept of using a mastitis strip (test) cup for each quarter
was well accepted by everyone.
The use of cloth aggregates microbial
contamination, as micro-organisms are able to colonise the material at an
alarming rate. Therefore substitution
with paper towels was advocated. It is also not desirable to use a milk
cloth in order to filter out impurities. In this case the use of an in-line
filter at the collection tanks was suggested.
The importance of cleaning and sanitising
was demonstrated to the farmers.
They used to clean their own milking cans, often with an undesired effect.
The correct cleaning and sanitising methods and agents were being used by
the personnel at the collection points. They were tasked with the
responsibility of ensuring the cleaning and sanitising of the farmers' milk
cans at the collection points immediately after receiving the milk. The milk
cans will then be kept closed while being transported back to the farm.
Milking took place during the very early hours, minimising the need for
cooling facilities during transportation.
Bacterial counts of the raw milked decreased
with nearly 70% and the keeping time increased from 3 to 7 days. Although use
of the Lactoperoxidase system is not currently allowed in South Africa,
according to legislation, the use of this system will be ideal in the above
mentioned situation, as for other rural milk producers.
Keller, J.J. & Prinsloo, N.A. 1999.
Training manual for Thaba Dairies.
Reid, R. 2000. Milk - but little honey. Dairy Industries International,
Mrs. N.A.Prinsloo Microbiology Dept.
Animal Products and Food Safety ARC- Animal Nutrition and Animal Products
Institute PB X2 Irene RSA 0062 E-mail: Nellie@idpi1.agric.za Tel.:
+2712 672 9299 Fax: +2712 665 1551
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