1. Is it illegal to sell milk in the U.S. with somatic cell counts that exceed 400,000 cells/mL?
No, the regulatory limit for somatic cells counts in milk is 750,000 cells/mL as established by the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO). Some states set standards that are more stringent than the PMO. Milk with a rolling mean somatic cell counts greater than 400,000 cells/mL cannot be certified for export to the European Union (EU) unless a derogation is requested from AMS. The AMS Dairy Programs EU certification program is voluntary and only applies to milk and milk products that are exported to the EU member countries.
2. How should the monthly milk quality records be established for each farm?
To establish monthly milk quality farm records at least one milk sample per month must be tested for Somatic Cell Count (SCC) and two samples for Bacterial Standard Plate Count (SPC). A milk supplier may also use an average of a number of samples taken at the farm during the month. AMS will accept the counts used to establish payments for the farm milk. AMS will also accept regulatory sample tests provided that the minimum numbers of samples are taken.
3. Will monthly SPC test results be required for verified Grade A milk producers?
No, SPC tests data will only be required for Grade B milk farms. Grade B farms will be given two months to establish an initial rolling two months means for SPC. The U.S. regulatory SPC requirement for Grade A milk is equivalent to the EU regulation of 100,000 bacterial per mL.