Quality and Safety Assessment of Raw Milk in Lushnja Region


1Department of Veterinary Public Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, AUT, Kodër-Kamëz, Tirana, Albania

2Department of Food Microbiology, Food Safety and Veterinary Institute “Dr. Bilal Golemi”, “Aleksandër Moisiu”

No. 10, Tirana, Albania

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The safety of milk is an important attribute for consumers of milk and dairy products in Albania. Over the past 10 years, farmers and government agencies have made joint efforts not only to increase milk production, but also to improve its hygienic-sanitary quality. In this study, the quality of raw milk produced in 10 farms in the Lushnja area was assessed. Each milk sample (n = 100) was first tested for physicochemical indicators: fat, protein, lactose, density, cryoscopic point and added water. These indicators were evaluated through Lactoscan. The Total Bacteria Count, Coliforms and somatic cell count were also determined. The method used to determine Total Bacterial Count was conducted by the ISO 4833: 2003 method, while for SCC measurement, DeLaval DCC electronic counting was used. Only 37% of all samples resulted in values <100,000 colony forming units (CFU) / ml of total bacteria, a standard bacterial concentration acceptable for raw milk based on Albanian and European law. Similarly, the majority of milk samples (63%)(63/100), showed that they contained> 100 CFU coliforms / ml. In this study, a change in milk composition was found, especially in samples with high SCC. Many of the quality issues, we found were likely related to hygiene and sanitation practices at different points along the entire production chain. Decreasing overall bacterial concentrations could extend shelf life and improve consistency of fermented products.  These results will serve as primary data for extension programming aimed at improving milk quality in the region of Lushnja.

Keywords:  Total Bacteria Count, coliforms, SCC, milk composition.