Turvallisen ja hygieenisen maidon edistys ja kehitys

Bacterial counts in Finnish milk

Bacterial counts (BC) in milk are an indicator of hygienic quality. Good udder health, hygienic milking practices and sufficient cleaning of milking equipment keep BC of fresh milk below 10 000 CFU/ml. BC are evaluated bimonthly from the bulk tank milk of Finnish dairy farms. In 2021, the Finnish Association for Milk Hygiene received BC data from 99% Finnish dairy farms.

Low bacterial counts in Finnish milk

In 2021, the national arithmetic mean for BC in Finnish bulk tank milk was 9000 CFU/ml, and the national geometric mean BC in bulk tank milk was 5600 CFU/ml. These values are among the lowest in the world and indicate that Finnish milk has excellent hygienic quality.


FIGURE 1. Low somatic cell and bacterial counts indicate
that Finnish milk has excellent hygienic quality.


Seasonal fluctuations in BC

BC are slightly higher during the summer months in comparison to other seasons. In 2021, BC were the highest in June.  


FIGURE 2. Bacterial counts are slightly elevated during the summer.
Values indicate geometric means. 


EU criterion for BC in bulk tank milk

Legislation of the European Union maintains that BC in bulk tank milk should not exceed 100 000 CFU/ml (calculated using a 2-month geometric mean). In 2021, 0.028% of milk samples from Finnish dairy farms exceeded the EU criterion.


FIGURE 3. The portion of Finnish milk samples exceeding the EU criterion for bacterial counts in milk has significantly decreased over the past two decades.