Ensuring Milk Quality When The Temperature Drops
All farmers know cooling their milk is vital to ensuring a high quality product with a low microbial count, which is important for both great taste and food safety. In the winter, outside temperatures make cooling less of a priority than preventing freezing.
Milk freezes at a slightly lower temperature than water. Bulk transport tanks are insulated to protect the contents from freezing until they reach processing plants.
On extremely cold days, milk can still freeze to the inside of the tank. Filling tanks as much as possible helps to lower this risk by reducing the sloshing of the milk against the interior of the tank. It also improves driving safety by reducing the chance of liquid surges.
What To Do If Issues Arise
If there is concern about the possibility of milk freezing, drivers should take the following steps:
- Report the tank or milk condition to the milk producer(s) and buyers/processors immediately.
- Make a note on the measurement record sheets, as quality metrics may be affected.
- Don’t use a stick thermometer to take a reading if ice is found in farm bulk tanks, as ice crystals can affect temperature readings.
In cases where milk is suspected to have frozen in tanks (or in transit), daily samples collected by the milk hauler will not be regarded as accurate in ensuring safety and quality. In many cases, the milk collected is still viable and can safely be processed. Haulers should therefore do everything in their power, as always, to maintain milk quality and prevent cross-contamination.