Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Up-and-Down Bacteria Counts 
in Colostrum
A recent visit to a dairy gave me 10 "as-fed" colostrum samples. Click Here for a protocol for collecting "as-fed" colostrum samples. 

They were cultured for bacteria. The results look like this: (TNTC = too numerous to count)
Sample  Coliform Total Plate
Number  Count      Count
     1          None          None
     2          None          600
     3          2,000          9,000
     4          1,500          22,500         
     5          5,200          10,200
     6          20,000        21,500
     7          22,000        22,800
     8          25,000        43,000
     9          ???             TNTC (Staph and Strep species) - plate overgrown
     10        TNTC        TNTC (mostly coliforms) - plate overgrown
Click Here for a description of consequences of high coliform counts in colostrum.
Are you thinking, "How can these samples be so different?"
First, the farm has unwritten protocols for colostrum collection and handling. When followed these protocols can result in quite clean colostrum - see samples 1 and 2. 
Second, it seems obvious that not all colostrum is collected and handled according to the "word-of-mouth" protocols - see samples 6 through 10.

Maybe it is time to monitor protocol compliance. The procedure for monitoring protocol compliance that I prepared for checking on cleaning equipment is valid for this process as well. You can find it by clicking Monitoring protocol compliance.

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