Dairy testing: what you need to know

dairy-process-map-3mAs rules and regulations continue to be important in the dairy processing industry, it’s critical to have a trustworthy food safety testing solution. Impacts of spoilage, poor hygienic conditions, and pathogens in consumables continue to be important. With the rise of social media, any problem is more visible than ever.

3M Food Safety can help you with testing solutions for multiple steps in your production process.

These include:

  • Environmental
  • In process
  • Raw material
  • Finished products

Prevalence of spoilage in dairy

Safe production of dairy foods depends on having high microbial quality. Microbial spoilage is when the proteins, fats, and carbohydrates degrade from the microorganisms. When this happens, the food quality deteriorates. This has been seen by many of us, and can impact a foods texture, odor, flavor, or color to the point where it is unsuitable for


consumption. Testing for spoilage using a rapid method can help to improve both process speed and shelf life.

3M Food Safety partnered with Dr. Randy Worobo of Cornell University to communicate some key topics on food spoilage for multiple food categories (including produce, meat, poultry, and dairy). These include identification, testing for, and controlling food spoilage, as well as determining shelf life. These are available on-demand at no cost to you. Learn more.

Pathogenic Microorganisms in dairy

The dairy industry has improved with increased regulation into milk production hygiene rules, handling and storage rules, and pasteurization. However, bacterial pathogens continue to be a concern. These include Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella spp., Campylobacter, and E. coli O157:H7.

The Center for Disease Control estimates that 48 million people get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from foodborne diseases each year in the United States. From 1998-2008, dairy and eggs have caused an estimated 20% of the illnesses reported in the United States, and 15% of the total deaths. Because of the higher prevalence of illnesses, the dairy industry continues to be highly regulated and expectations on manufacturers are not lowering. It is crucial to have a dairy testing solution that provides results that are rapid and reliable.

Testing for pathogens

FSMA maintains the importance of prevention rather than treatment, and it starts at the beginning. 3M Food Safety allows you to test for pathogens including (but not limited to): Salmonella, Listeria, Listeria monocytogenes, Cronobacter, and E. coli O157 (including H7)] using the award-winning 3M™ Molecular Detection System. Used in more than 40 countries, this fast, accurate, and easy-to-use system is used by food processors, universities, governments and contract testing.


Monitoring for hygiene

A robust hygienic testing program can help you reduce risks of recall and bedairy-blog-3m-food-safety-cheese better prepared for an audit. Simply stated, a good quality program helps keep a spoiled product or a product contaminated with a pathogen from leaving a facility and becoming available for purchase and consumption.

3M™ Petrifilm™ Enterobacteriaceae Count Plates are used to determine quantities of Enterobacteriaceae in the product being tested. These organisms are heat-sensitive and killed during pasteurization. Testing for these organisms following pasteurization helps to indicate issues such as poor hygienic conditions, post-processing contamination, and/or inadequate pasteurization.


Environmental swabbing helps to ensure your cleaning processes are making the grade. The 3M™ Clean-Trace™ Hygiene Monitoring and Management System can keep you from losing time and money on cleaning or repeated tests, by helping to ensure sanitary conditions of food and beverage manufacturing environment. By monitoring the effectiveness of your cleaning procedures, you can optimize productivity, ensure adherence to FSMA roles, and be better prepared for audits.

As part of your cleaning effectiveness procedure, 3M™ Clean-Trace™ Surface ATP Test Swab UXL100 helps you test for the presence of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). This easy-to-use, pre-moistened sample collection tool allows for verification of cleaning effectiveness, reduce risk, and improve overall hygiene.

The 3M™ Petrifilm™ Rapid Coliform Count Plate and the 3M™ Petrifilm™ Rapid Aerobic Count Plate are useful for testing the environment, raw materials, semi-finished and finished goods. Certified as an AOAC® OMA Official Method of Analysis℠ and recipient of an NF VALIDATION by AFNOR Certification, these plates provide time to result in just 14 and 24 hours, respectively. The 3M™ Petrifilm™ Rapid Yeast and Mold Count Plate helps you make sure the dairy product being tested been contaminated by yeast or mold in the processing environment. This plate has received Certification following the AOAC® PTM Performance Tested Method℠ program and NF VALIDATION by AFNOR Certification and validated by AOAC® INTERNATIONAL as an Official MethodSM 2014.05.

3M Food Safety offers multiple 3M™ Petrifilm™ Rapid Plates to be used in the dairy industry.

Testing for allergens

Dairy-gif-process-lineAs allergen outbreaks continue to be publicized, it is even more important to ensure that no cross-contamination is occurring on the foods being produced. The 3M™ Bovine Total Milk Protein Rapid Kit quickly tests for milk in a variety of areas; including the food, environment, process lines, pipes, and surfaces. Testing for ancillary ingredients in your dairy plant (think coconut in your ice cream!) can be achieved by using our rapid kits for Egg White, Coconut, Almond, Hazelnut, Pecans, Peanut, Pistachio, and Soy. You can view all options here.

Adherence to industry regulations and keeping your dairy facility free of spoilage or pathogenic microorganisms continue to remain important. 3M Food Safety has developed a total solution to help industry professionals along each stage of the food processing journey.


Need more information on the total 3M Food Safety testing solution? Simply reach out and we’ll be happy to help you with any questions you have. Contact a rep here.