Introduction

The microbiology of fluid milk impacts on production and consumption of dairy products in several different ways. Numerous types of bacteria can degrade milk components, creating negative sensory attributes, decreasing processed product shelf life and adversely affecting cultured dairy product yield. Since numerous pathogens are sometimes associated with milk and other dairy products, the microbiology of milk has implications for human health as well. This chapter will discuss various types of microorganisms that have been associated with raw milk and fluid milk products; microbiological techniques with which the microflora of milk samples can be assessed; various routes through which bacteria can contaminate raw milk; implications of microbial contamination for the quality of raw and processed milk; problems posed by heat-stable enzymes secreted by contaminating bacteria; and techniques for reducing and controlling bacterial numbers in raw and pasteurized milk.

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