Thursday, January 08, 2009

Teamwork Keeps Milk Safe

Got safe milk? ARS food safety researchers and their colleagues in northeastern and mid-Atlantic states have teamed up to make sure the answer is always "Yes!"The collaboration with veterinarians, university researchers and others who belong to the Regional Dairy Quality Management Alliance will, among other results, lead to a new set of "best management practices." Dairy producers in 10 states can use those guidelines to minimize the risk of diseases caused by microbes in dairy cows and dairy products.

ARS scientists in Beltsville, Md., and Athens, Ga.—and their co-investigators—are analyzing dairy manure samples, bird droppings and water, for instance, from test farms in New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont to check for such pathogens as Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria and Campylobacter.An example: Samples from one farm showed that although 45 percent of the cows tested positive for Salmonella, milk from the animals was free of detectable levels of the microbe