For the dairy industry, accredited proficiency testing for raw milk are organised for the parameters fat, protein, total bacterial count, coliforms, freezing point to test the accuracy of the routine methods used by the dairy industry. A proficiency test for fat content in cream is also organised. Outside accreditation, proficiency tests of raw milk are made for the dairy industry for the parameters Enterobacteriaceae and antibiotics. As a part of their self-monitoring, the Belgian dairy industry is used rapid tests or/and microbiological tests to screen incoming milk on residues of β-lactam antibiotics (penicillins en cephalosporins). Because this testing can result in the destruction of the whole tanker load, the accuracy of the test is very important.
The scientific guidance of the dairy industry in general contains the following aspects proficiency testing, (standard) reference series and workshops:
- Proficiency testing for quality as well as composition parameters: monthly, two-monthly and bi-annually, depending on the parameters
- (standard) Reference series: raw milk, evaporated milk, skimmed milk, cream and hard cheese for the parameter fat, protein and dry matter
- On demand also delivery of antibiotic standards
- Minimum yearly workshops/info meetings
Hadewig Werbrouck, Sigrid Ooghe, Wim Reybroeck