Quality control measures in raw milk testing with Symbio Laboratories
Quality control is crucial at all stages of production, especially in a sensitive industry such as dairy. One of Australia’s largest analytical testing labs, Symbio Laboratories, have undergone advancements and upgrades to their laboratories around the country to improve their capacity for quality on control in milk testing. Their success over the last 27 years is largely attributed to a constant quest for innovation in testing solutions that will deliver accurate results in an operationally efficient manner that will reduce the overall cost of testing. It is this philosophy that has been at the centre of Symbio’s expansion into the dairy market. Symbio has invested in the latest instruments — available nowhere else in Australia. These instruments have been installed at their Perth, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane laboratories to ensure continuity of results across Australia. Said instruments utilize near infrared (NIR) and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) analysis which allows for very rapid and accurate determination of a wide range of parameters in milk.
Two pivotal instruments in this process include:
- The CombiFoss™ 7 provides raw milk testing for 19 parameters in 6 seconds, including somatic cell count (SCC) and differential SCC.
- BactoScan™ FC+ milk bacteria analyser measures the individual bacteria cells in raw milk. Delivering results in just minutes, BactoScan allows farmers to take fast action to preserve and enhance milk quality.
As with all test methods, the milk testing methods and instruments are subjected to rigorous quality control checks and reviews. This is imperative to ensure that the results obtained are an accurate and true reflection of the milk sample being analysed. There are a number of ways of verifying the results obtained. The following are just some of the procedures and checks embraced by Symbio Laboratories.
Daily Somatic Cell Count Control Sample
The Daily Somatic Cell Count Control Sample consists of raw milk with a defined somatic cell count level. It is prepared by the laboratory and the values are assigned after analysis on the milk instrument.
- Monitor stability and functioning of milk instrument for Somatic Cell Count Daily, at the start up of each instrument, the sample is tested and the somatic cell count values are assessed in a control chart to ensure the values does not exceed the limits.
Bacterial Control Sample and Blank sample
The Bacterial Control Sample is a reference material with a known bacterial count and signal mean. It is sourced from FOSS, a global provider of milk instruments and reagents. The Blank Sample is a prepared solution that does not contain any bacteria and is prepared from reagents provided by FOSS. Both samples assist to:
- Monitor the instrument so it is adjusted correctly
- Ensure all reagents have been prepared according to specifications and are functioning correctly
- Check there is no bacterial contamination within the instrument
The Bacterial Control Sample is checked weekly and the bacterial count and signal mean is checked against the assigned values. The Blank is checked on a daily basis. All values are evaluated using control charts to ensure the values do not exceed the limits. Both the Bacterial Control Sample and the Blank sample ensure the individual bacterial count results are accurate.
Interlab Standardization — Cryoscope vs MilkoScan Freezing Point
Interlab Standardization of the Freezing Point is conducted using raw milk samples, with a range of freezing point values, which are tested using the Cryroscope 4250. It is completed for:
- Calibration and drift adjustment of freezing point of the MilkoScan Instrument
- Interlab Standardization
10 raw milk samples are analysed on the Cryoscope in a central laboratory and then sent to all the Milk Testing Laboratories to be analysed. Interlab Standardization of the Freezing Point ensures the MilkoScan freezing point values are accurate and that all Symbio Milk Testing Laboratories are producing accurate results.
These are just a few examples of the checks and balances that Symbio Laboratories has in place for ensuring quality control in milk testing.
For many manufacturers, food safety is often considered to be little more than a necessary cost...
Individual quick-freezing food products can deliver many benefits for food producers — from...
As the merging of 3M's Food Safety Division and Neogen nears completion, the full benefits to...