EU Regs May Be Pushing U.S. Cell Counts Lower

July 16, 2013 06:19 AM

An analysis of bulk tank somatic cell counts in four Federal Milk Marketing Orders suggests the 400,000 cell/ml European Union (EU) threshold may be having an impact on U.S. milk quality.

For the first time, the milk volume weighted average of SCCs fell below 200,000 cells/ml in 2012, according to USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). The average was 206,000 cells/ml in 2011, and it fell to 194,000 cells/ml in 2012.

The European Union now requires that any milk or dairy products have an SCC of less than 400,000 cells/ml based on four consecutive rolling 3-month geometric means. Failure to meet this standard requires farms to obtain a derogation or other non-export market. Since it is difficult and expensive to segregate milk, milk buyers require non-compliance farms to obtain the derogation.

Four Federal Orders—Central, Mideast, Southwest and Upper Midwest—collect SCC data. According to this data, some 6% to 10% of U.S. milk shipments would have been non-compliant in 2012. But these are typically smaller farms, who struggle most with milk quality. "These shipments represented less than 3% of milk shipped during the monitored months," say APHIS officials.

Shipments of non-compliant milk dropped dramatically from just under 10% in January 2012 to 6% in June, and then upticked slightly during the hot summer months. They dropped to less than 6% by December 2012. The milk volume of non-compliant milk was about 3% in January 2012 and then hovered just above 2% the rest of the year.

You can read more on the APHIS report here


Back to news



Spell Check

No comments have been posted to this News Article

Corn College TV Education Series


Get nearly 8 hours of educational video with Farm Journal's top agronomists. Produced in the field and neatly organized by topic, from spring prep to post-harvest. Order now!


Market Data provided by
Brought to you by Beyer