On Mon, 24 Jan 2000 19:22:02 -0500, Hugh Lovel wrote:
>you sick or even threaten your life. In fresh milk there are somatic
>cells--white blood cells--that keep pathogens in check. However, if the
>somatic cell count on a fresh milk sample is high it is a sign that
>pathogenic activity is rampant and the milk is high in pathogens.
Somatic cell counts are a complicated area. Legal limit is usually
750,000 cells per mL. Any dairy with low plate-count (bacteria) *and* a
somatic cell count down around 100,000 is doing a very good job. I've
also been on organic dairy farms with SCCs over 2,000,000 on occasion.
Let me add that a low SCC is not necessarily a sign of clean milk. Cows
with compromised immune systems due, for example, to acidosis (too much
concentrate in the feed) and impaired liver function can be chock full
of stuff like klebsiella yet never go above 150,000.
If you ever want to see somatic cells first hand, take a look at the
"clarification" tank in a dairy plant. You may, however, want to bring
one of those little airplane bags along.
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