Who does not wants to entertain their bodies with quality!! Be it clothes or food we consume. Talking about food, milk contributes to major parts of our diet making it a complex food. With high nutritive value, milk and its products are one of the main sources of food for the world population. Production of high quality milk is a major goal for the concerned industries and farmers. While there are many determinants to evaluate the milk quality some are mandated by federal Grade “A” Pasteurized Milk Ordinance by Food and Drug Administration like, Somatic Cell Count or SCC. 

WHAT IS SOMATIC CELL COUNT?

One key metric for assessing the quality of milk is the somatic cell count (SCC). Leukocytes (white blood cells), which are present in milk in increasing amounts typically as an immune response to a pathogen that causes mastitis, make up the majority of somatic cells. A smaller proportion of somatic cells are epithelial cells, which are milk-producing cells that are shed from inside the udder when an infection occurs. There are many factors which affects the Somatic Cell Count as:-

·        Age/ breed

·        Stage of lactation

·        Parity

·        Season/ stress

·        Mastitis

·        Diurnal variation

·        Milk transportation and management

THE NUMBERS

The SCC is measured in terms of cells per milliliter of milk. A cow is considered to be “uninfected” if its SCC is 100,000 or less. Whether a cow has mastitis would be determined by an SCC cutoff of 200,000. There is a very strong likelihood that at least one quarter of the cows with a result of more than 200,000 will be affected. Significant pathogen-infected cows have an SCC of 300,000 or more. The Somatic Cell Count of milk in Brazil is 10, 00,000. USA has 7, 50,000 Somatic cell count per milliliter of milk and on the other hand, 1,00,000- 3,50,000 is the SC count of milk per milliliter in Germany and Switzerland.

Greater the number, higher the infection!!

HIGH SCC AND HUMAN HEALTH

The ingestion of unpasteurized or inadequately pasteurized milk poses the greatest health danger from high SCC milk. Direct transmission of viable infections and their toxins from the milk of infected animals to humans is possible. A large and diverse group of human pathogens reside in the cow’s environment including Salmonella dublin, Campylobacter jejuni, and Listeria monocytogenes. Evidence has been reported that Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis, associated with Johnes in cattle and isolated from human patients with Crohn’s disease. Fortunately, Pasteurization reduces the number of viable microorganisms, but often does not negate the effects of toxins produced by mastitis pathogens. SCC of bulk milk and antibiotic residue infractions have consistently been found to be positively correlated, according to investigators. Consuming milk products tainted with antibiotic residues can be catastrophic for people who have developed an antibiotic hypersensitivity.

CONCLUSION

Every dairy producer in the world should strive to provide a milk supply that is secure, healthy, abundant, and nutrient-rich. Dairy products’ safety and quality are always maintained throughout the entire processing chain, starting at the farm. Producers must implement production techniques that prevent mastitis and bacterial contamination of milk in order to achieve enhanced raw milk quality standards. By enhancing safety, milk quality, and value-added products, decreasing SCC standards will increase milk’s acceptance and appropriateness.