Milk quality in India is facing challenges including bacterial and somatic cell counts that are currently far above the standards defined in Europe or the US. Moreover, the participants noted contamination with antibiotics and aflatoxins are major additional challenges.
Overall awareness and knowledge of milk quality has the potential to be developed among consumers and those in the milk supply chain, the conference heard.
“By boiling the milk which most Indian consumers do, they assume that milk quality issues can be solved. Unfortunately, this is only partly true,” said Anders Fagerberg, chairman of IFCN.
Torsten Hemme, managing director of the IFCN, said, “Milk quality management has to start at the farm level and has to move along the supply chain.”
It was concluded that quality standards for raw milk and dairy products have to be defined jointly by the government and the dairy industry to make progress. This should be on a solid scientific base, and there is no reason this cannot be implemented immediately, the conference heard. Over time, these standards can be gradually improved.
The IFCN said a well-defined quality management system will also improve efficiency and competitiveness: from this, local dairy producers will be able to compete with imports and can even look to dairy export opportunities.