Examples of Bacterial Testing Standards

It is common for jurisdictions where raw milk is legal to have standards for bacterial testing of milk samples.  This page provides a listing of some of these standards, plus selected bacteria testing standards for post-pasteurized milk (see tables 7 and 8).    In meetings with B.C.’s Ministry of Health, Ministry representatives stated that having testing standards would be necessary in any new laws legalizing herdshares (see the BCHA Newsletter #2 for other details of what the government first wants to see).  Our “Grass to Glass” training program helps farmers to meet these standards.  If you are already testing your milk, you can compare your results to the listing below.

Part 1: Standards for Unpasteurized Milk for Direct Consumption

Table 1: Unpasteurized Milk for Direct Consumption – U.S. States
Jurisdiction Total coliforms/ml. Standard Plate Count/ml. Pathogen testing
California[1] <10 <15,000
Connecticut[2] <50 <30,000  Monthly
Idaho[3] <25 <15,000
Illinois[29] <10 <20,000
Kansas[4] No standard <100,000
Maine[5] <10 <50,000
Massachusetts[6] <10 <20,000
Nevada[7] <10 <10,000
New Hampshire[8] <10 <20,000
New Mexico[9] <50 <20,000
New York [10] <10 <30,000 Monthly
Pennsylvania[11] <10 <20,000 Every 6 months
South Carolina[12] <10 <10,000
South Dakota[13] No standard <30,000 Monthly
Texas[14] <10 <20,000 Quarterly
Utah[15] <10 <20,000
Vermont[16] <10 <15,000
Washington State[17] <10 <20,000 Monthly

 

Table 2: Unpasteurized Milk for Direct Consumption – Other Commonwealth Nations
Jurisdiction Total coliforms/ml. Standard Plate Count/ml.
New Zealand[18] <100 <25,000
England and Wales[19] <100 <20,000

 

Table 3: Vorzugsmilch (Certified Raw Milk, Germany)[20]
Category m M n c
1. Total bacteria/ml. 30°C 30,000 50,000 5 2
2. Coliform bacteria/ml. 30°C 20 100 5 1
3. Staphylococcus aureus/ml. 100 500 5 2
4. Streptococcus agalactiae/ml. 0 10 5 2
5. Somatic cells /ml. 300,000 400,000 5 2
6. Salmonella in 25 ml. 0 0 5 0
7. Pathogenic micro-organisms and their toxins must not be present in quantities such as to affect the health of customers
8. Sensory evaluation: without signs of abnormality
9. Phosphatase: Positive
  • n = number of units comprising the sample;
  • m = threshold value for the number of bacteria; the result is considered satisfactory if the number of bacteria in all sample units does not exceed “m”;
  • M = maximum value for the number of bacteria; the result is unsatisfactory if the number of bacteria in one or more sample units is “M” or more;
  • c = number of sample units where the bacteria count may be between “m” and “M,” the sample considered acceptable if the bacterial count of the other sample units is “m” or less.

 

Table 4: Unpasteurized Milk for Direct Consumption – France[21]
Designation Aerobic microorganisms at 30ºC (per ml) Fecal coliforms (per ml) Salmonellas (in 1000 ml) Beta haemolytic streptococci*
Day of packaging: <90,000 <100 Absent Absent
‘Use by’ date: <300,000 <100 Absent Absent

 

Table 5: Raw Milk Institute (RAWMI) Common Standards (U.S.)[22]
Total coliforms/ml. Standard Plate Count /ml. Pathogens
a rolling 3‐month average of <25 <15,000 Shall not contain zoonotic pathogens including: Salmonella spp., E. coli 0157:H7, Campylobacter spp., and Listeria monocytogenes

 

Table 6: Raw Milk Association of Colorado (RMAC) Seal of Excellence (U.S.)[23]
Total coliforms/ml. Standard Plate Count /ml. Pathogens
<50 <25,000

Salmonella limit 0 CFU/ml

Escherichia coli 0157:H7 limit 0 CFU/ml

Part 2: Standards for Post-pasteurized Milk

Table 7:   Post-Pasteurized Milk – Canadian National Standards (National Dairy Code)[24]
Bacteria n c m M
Mesophilic aerobic bacteria (32°C) (Standard Plate Count) 5 2 10,000 25,000 (/ml)
Total Coliforms 5 2 1 10 (/ml)
  • n = number of sample units (subsamples) to be examined per lot:
  • c = maximum number of sample units (subsamples) per lot that may have a bacterial concentration higher than the value for “m” without violation of the Regulations
  • m = maximum number of bacteria per g or ml of product that is of no concern (acceptable level of contamination)
  • M = maximum number of bacteria per g or ml of product, that if exceeded by any one sample unit (subsamples) renders the lot in violation of the Regulations

 

Table 8:   Post-Pasteurized Milk – Examples of Standards in Other Jurisdictions
Jurisdiction Total coliforms/ml. Standard Plate Count/ml.
United States (Federal)[25] <10 <20,000
British Columbia[26] Not to exceed 1 more frequently than twice during the last 6 consecutive tests Not to exceed 10,000 more frequently than twice during the last 6 consecutive tests
California[27] <10 <15,000
New York[28]

Fluid milk: <10

Frozen desserts: <20

Fluid milk: <20,000

Frozen desserts: <100,000

 

References:

California Department of Food and Agriculture. Food and Agricultural Code. Available online: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=fac&group=35001-36000&file=35781-35788

California Department of Food and Agriculture. California milk standards. Available online: http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/ahfss/milk_and_dairy_food_safety/milk_standards.html

California Department of Food and Agriculture. Milk and Dairy Food Safety: Raw Milk. Available online: https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/AHFSS/Milk_and_Dairy_Food_Safety/rawmilk.html

Commonwealth of Australia. Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code – Standard 1.6.1 – Microbiological Limits for Food [Internet]. Available online: http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/F2014C01189

Connecticut Department of Agriculture. Statutes and Regulations, s. 22-133-129. Available online: http://www.ct.gov/doag/lib/doag/inspection_regulation/milk_regulations_of_connecticut_department_of_agriculture.pdf

Dixon, P. 2010. The German System. Available from http://www.dairyfoodsconsulting.com/pdf/German_raw_milk_system.pdf

Idaho Office of the Administrative Rules Coordinator. Idaho Administrative Code, Title 4, Ch. 13: Rules Governing Raw Milk. Available online: http://adminrules.idaho.gov/rules/2012/02/0413.pdf

Illinois Joint Committee on Administrative Rules.   Administrative Code.   Title 77: Public Health, Chapter I: Department Of Public Health, Subchapter M: Food, Drugs And Cosmetics, Part 775 Grade A Pasteurized Milk And Milk Products, Section 775.55 Raw Milk Permit.  Available online: http://www.ilga.gov/commission/jcar/admincode/077/077007750000550R.html

Kansas Department of Agriculture. Kansas Dairy Law. Available online: https://agriculture.ks.gov/docs/default-source/statutes-dairy/dairy.pdf?sfvrsn=6

Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry. Administrative Rules, Ch. 329: Rule Governing Maine Milk And Milk Products. Available online: http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/rules/01/001/001c329.doc

Massachusetts Department of Agriculture, Standards and Sanitation Requirements for Raw Milk. Available online: http://www.mass.gov/eea/docs/agr/legal/regs/330-cmr-28-00.pdf

Maillot E. 1998. Sale of raw milk in France. Euro Surveill. vol. 2(13):pii=1238. Available online: http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleId=1238

Nevada State. Nevada Revised Statutes, Ch.584 – Dairy Products and Substitutes Available online: http://www.leg.state.nv.us/nrs/nrs-584.html#NRS584Sec208

New Hampshire DHHS, Division of Public Health Services. Starting Up a Dairy in New Hampshire. Available online: http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/fp/dairy/documents/dairystartup.pdf

New Mexico State Government. New Mexico Statutes, Ch. 25, Article 8, Section 25-8-1 — Raw milk sold at retail; standards. Available online: http://law.justia.com/codes/new-mexico/2006/nmrc/jd_25-8-1-b741.html

New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. 1 NYCRR Part 2 – Requirements for the production, processing, manufacturing and distribution of milk and milk products. Available online: http://www.agriculture.ny.gov/DI/Laws%20in%20PDF/PART2_milk_control_law.pdf

Pennsylvania State Government. Raw milk testing schedule and standards. Available online: http://www.pacode.com/secure/data/007/chapter59a/s59a.408.html

Raw Milk Association of Colorado. 2010. RMAC Standards and Recommendations. Available online: http://www.rawmilkcolorado.org/standards-recommendations

Raw Milk Institute. 2012. RAWMI Common Standards. Available online: http://www.rawmilkinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/RAWMI-Common-Standards-20120716.pdf

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, S.C. Regulation 61-34 – Raw Milk for Human Consumption. Available online: http://milk.procon.org/sourcefiles/south-carolina-raw-milk-code.pdf

South Dakota Legislature. South Dakota Agriculture Rules, Article 12:81, Sale of Raw Milk for Human Consumption. Available online : http://legis.sd.gov/Rules/DisplayRule.aspx?Rule=12:81

Texas State Government. Texas Administrative Code, Title 25, Ch. 217 Milk and Dairy, Subchapter B Grade A Raw For Retail Milk And Milk Products, Rule §217.28 Standards for Grade A Raw for Retail Milk and Milk Products. Available online: https://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/public/readtac$ext.ViewTAC?tac_view=5&ti=25&pt=1&ch=217&sch=B&rl=Y

UK Food Standards Agency. Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006. Available online: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2006/14/pdfs/uksi_20060014_en.pdf

Utah State Legislature, Utah Code – Title 4, Ch. 3, 4-3-14 – Sale of raw milk. Available online: http://www.le.utah.gov/xcode/Title4/Chapter3/4-3-S14.html?v=C4-3-S14_1800010118000101

Vermont State Government Vermont Statutes, Title 6, Ch. 152: Sale of unpasteurized (raw) milk. Available online: http://legislature.vermont.gov/statutes/chapter/06/152

Washington State Department of Agriculture, Retail Raw Milk – A Quick Guide for Producer-Processors. Available online: http://agr.wa.gov/foodanimal/dairy/docs/retailrawmilkguide042111.pdf

End notes:

[1] California Department of Food and Agriculture, California Milk Standards.

[2] Connecticut Department of Agriculture Statutes and Regulations, Sec. 22-133-129

[3] Idaho Administrative Code, Title 4, Ch. 13: Rules Governing Raw Milk.

[4] Kansas Department of Agriculture, Kansas Dairy Law.

[5] Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation And Forestry, Ch. 329: Rule Governing Maine Milk And Milk Products, p. 44

[6] Massachusetts Department of Agriculture, Standards and Sanitation Requirements for Raw Milk

[7] Nevada Revised Statutes, Ch.584 – Dairy Products and Substitutes, NRS 584.208 Certified raw milk: Conditions governing sale; handling; regulations.

[8] NH DHHS, Division of Public Health Services, Starting Up a Dairy in New Hampshire, p. 12

[9] New Mexico Statutes, Ch. 25, Article 8, Section 25-8-1 — Raw milk sold at retail; standards.

[10] New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, NYCRR Part 2 – Requirements for the Production, Processing, Manufacturing and Distribution of Milk and Milk Products

[11] Pennsylvania Code, Raw Milk Testing Schedule and Standards

[12] South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, S.C. Regulation 61-34 – Raw Milk for Human Consumption.

[13] South Dakota Agriculture Rules, Article 12:81, Sale of Raw Milk for Human Consumption

[14] Texas Administrative Code, Title 25, Ch. 217 Milk and Dairy, Subchapter B Grade A Raw For Retail Milk And Milk Products

[15] Utah Code – Title 4, Ch. 3, 4-3-14. Sale of raw milk

[16] Vermont Statutes, Title 6, Ch. 152: Sale of unpasteurized (raw) milk

[17] Washington State Department of Agriculture, Retail Raw Milk – A Quick Guide for Producer-Processors, p. 15

[18] Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code – Standard 1.6.1 Microbiological Limits for Food

[19] Food Standards Agency (UK), Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006, Schedule 6.

[20] Dixon, P. 2010. The German system [Internet].

[21] Maillot E. 1998. Sale of raw milk in France. Euro Surveill. vol. 2(13):pii=1238.

[22] Raw Milk Institute. 2012. RAWMI Common Standards.

[23] Raw Milk Association of Colorado, RMAC Standards and Recommendations. Available online: http://www.rawmilkcolorado.org/standards-recommendations/

[24] Canada, National Dairy Code, Production and Processing Regulations Fourth Edition (Amended July, 2005)

[25] U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Pasteurized Milk Ordinance, page 29

[26] British Columbia Milk Industry Standards Regulation, section 81(1).

[27] California Department of Food and Agriculture, Food and Agricultural Code 35781(a)(3)

[28] New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, 1 NYCRR Part 2 – Requirements for the Production, Processing, Manufacturing and Distribution of Milk and Milk Products

[29] Illinois Administrative Code, Title 77: Public Health, Section 775.55 Raw Milk Permit (January 29, 2016)

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