University of KentuckyCollege of Agriculture
Text size:  +   -    
What's Inside

Advisory Board

External Links


General Information

Regulatory Services Milk Lab

Lab Requirements

Laws and Regulations

Training Program Information

Milk Tank Calibrations


Kentucky Dairy Producer and Industry Rep Survey

Milk Transport Security Project

The importance of properly identifying that milk sample

Most milk haulers realize obtaining an accurate bulk milk tank sample is very important. Itís important to the producers on their routes to make sure they properly paid. Itís important to the processors they deliver to so that they receive a representative sample of the milk they receive. Itís important for public health to make sure each producerís milk is of acceptable quality for human consumption. Besides that, itís your job! Whenever you apply for a license or permit to haul milk, you agree to comply with all hauler requirements, including sampling methods.

Milk haulers know that if an accurate sample is not obtained from each bulk tank, a number of problems can occur:

  • Producers are not paid accurately. Producers can also be placed in jeopardy from inaccurate samples. It is not uncommon for them to receive violation notices for high bacteria, high somatic cell counts, added water, or even ďinhibitorsĒ; all due to a poor sample.
  • Processors are not billed correctly. And they cannot effectively evaluate the quality of milk coming into their plant when poor samples are obtained.
  • The public health food security system is jeopardized. If a problem does happen to occur with a tanker load of milk, the source of the problem canít always be determined when poor samples are obtained.
  • You can be found in violation of hauler requirements. As a licensed hauler, you should strive to have a good record with regulatory agencies. If you do, it demonstrates to your producers, the processors you deliver to and your employer that you take your job seriously.

Due to the items listed above and for many more reasons, a great deal of emphasis is place on obtaining accurate milk samples. But there are some other important hauler requirements relating to samples as well. One of these is sample labeling.

Sample labeling is important because several people may need the information recorded on a milk sample. Most of the time, people who need this information do not have the opportunity to ask the sample collector about sample. Because of this, the information recorded on all sample containers should be legible and complete.

Start with a waterproof pen and write clearly and in a manner so that the information you record will not rub off easily. Most sample containers today have specific areas identified on them for you to record information. These areas should be used when at all possible.

Each producerís bulk tank sample container is required to have a minimum amount of information on it. The following information relates to Regulatory Servicesí Milk Program requirements. Coops and processors may request that additional information recorded on samples as well. It is permissible to record additional information on sample containers, but at minimum every producerís bulk tank sample shall be identified with the following information:

  • Producer identification (and tank I.D. if the producer has multiple tanks);
  • Date;
  • Time including a.m. or p.m. (military time is acceptable);
  • Milk temperature; and
  • Sampler-weigherís initials.

Some organizations utilize computer generated bar code stickers for sampler-weighers to use to identify producers. This is an acceptable method of identifying the producer as long as the number on the bar code is indeed a producer number. If this is not the case, the producer should be identified elsewhere on the vial. Be sure that you donít distort the bar code with your written records if you haul for an organization that uses this type of system.

Other samples that you have should also be adequately identified. The temperature control sample obtained at your first stop and your load samples should be readily identified and also have the pertinent information listed above recorded on the containers. Any special samples or cow samples you have in your possession must also be easily identified. You wouldnít want these types of samples to be confused for producer samples.

Someone uses all of the information you record on sample containers. Think about how important an accurate time record on a milk sample is. Certain milk tests must be conducted within a specific time frame. Usually 36 to 72 hours from the time the sample was taken. If the time on a producerís sample was incorrect or omitted, an improper test result could be assigned to that producer. Think about the consequences a producer could suffer if a milk test was conducted on a sample that was too ďoldĒ.

Sampler-weighers are well trained and are well aware of proper milk hauling procedures. Every aspect of your job, including sampling and sample container identification, is very important. Donít find yourself falling to the temptations of taking meaningless shortcuts. Take time to properly sample and weigh the milk and to properly identify and care for every sample you take. The dairy producer, processor, your employer and you have too much at stake!