Today’s dairy farmers need to be highly understanding of all the critical aspects of raw milk production, including the processing equipment and materials the milk contacts. Processors and farmers alike are well aware of the negative effects poor equipment sanitation can have on product quality, hygiene and production efficiency in milking applications.
Proper equipment is a large part of maintaining both a high-quality milk product (i.e., safety/hygiene), as well as compliance. As a component in milk processing (and storage) equipment, tubing plays a vital role in maintaining/upholding and transferring product safety, hygiene and quality.
To ensure proper sanitary conditions, the inner surfaces of milking equipment and pipelines, or tubing, should be cleaned daily. Regular product sampling and testing are also necessary throughout various stages of the milk collection and transfer process to ensure product quality.
Most dairy farm and processing equipment is made of stainless steel, where alkaline and acid-based detergents and sanitizers are run through the system components to flush them clean of bacteria and other particles or debris. If not properly sanitized, the unwanted buildup of protein and organic material — or milk fouling (proteins, mineral deposits, and fats) — can occur.
This build up, which can occur on rubber tubing, can lead to microbial contamination if not cleaned properly. Contaminated tubing can create multiple negative effects including a breach in regulatory compliance, textural and taste issues, and reduced efficiency for processers.
In many cases, deposits that are produced from fouling may be dislodged by flowing milk, causing contamination. Milk fouling can occur during both the collection and processing stages, which can negatively impact quality and hygiene in the finished dairy product — along with milk-brand quality and integrity.
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