Agroscope, Institute for Plant Production Sciences IPS, 1260 Nyon, Switzerland

Total microbial counts of goat milk

Total microbial counts from 2400 samples of goat milk from the Bernese Oberland and Central Switzerland are not normally distributed. Arithmetic means of the number of colony forming units (cfu/ml) are higher than in cow milk whereas the medians are lower. From 1995 until 1997 the producers managed to increase steadily the ratio of class 1 milk up to a final value of 90 %. The reasons may be better quality consciousness, hygienic improvements in farming, storage and transport of the milk and the progressive introduction of milking machines.<br>The Introduction of BactoScan-8000-instruments for determination of total microbial counts resulted in a dramatic decrease of quality 1 goat milk to about 50 %. This must be an artifact since the method has been developed for cow milk and does not fit the specific requirements of goat milk.<br>We recommend that the BactoScan-8000 method should not be used for goat milk. Until new and more suitable technique has been developed and tested, it is advisable to use conventional cultural methods for measureing total microbial count.

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