ANDRIY BILAN, Director Milk Quality Laboratory: On the service provided by the new laboratory

First of all, I would like to inform that the services of the Milk Quality Laboratory which was recently opened in Uman with USAID  support, will be available to any dairy farm regardless of whether it is an AVM member or not. Among the farms interested in our services we now have the non-AVM farms, including those of family type. We are ready to provide our services not only to dairy farms, but also to just people who keep a cow and want to know what kind of milk she gives, is it healthy or not and the like.

At the moment, we are not promoting our services too much because we are just waiting for the completion of the certification procedures. As soon as we have the Accreditation Certificate received, we will spread the information on our activity through all possible media to let people know about us.

We have studied the experience of other countries, first of all European ones – Denmark, Germany, Baltic States. We would like to implement their experience here to build a procedure of cooperation with our customers in a similar way they have in Europe. How do they do this? Typically, an annual contract is settled with dairy related entity that wants to track its performance. One-time orders are also possible, everything depends on the purpose pursued by the entity.

In European countries both dairy processing enterprises and their suppliers – milk producers, use the services of the same regional laboratory. Therefore, there are no controversial issues regarding the quality of milk. In case of Ukraine the situation is different. The data of analysis made on the farm, and those measure by the dairy’s laboratory may not coincide. The reasons may vary, but this is always a reason for controversy and misunderstanding.

What are the advantages of our laboratory? Our equipment is the most advanced in the industry. This equipment have passed metrological examination and it have been certified for Ukraine. It can boast higher accuracy and range of control capabilities for a variety of parameters than most of the laboratories in the country. In addition to standard parameters (fat, protein, lactose), we can measure the dry matter, urea, determine the freezing point – that is, whether there is falsification. We can also determine the presence of impurities – inhibitors, be it antibiotics or detergents. We use an infrared analyzer, which is capable in almost 2 minutes (taking into account the time of heating and preparation of the sample) to measure all the indicators of the sample under study, which I mentioned.

I can say that there is a strong interest in qualitative analysis of milk. Some customers have already visited our laboratory bringing the specimens, which they had pre-tested using other equipment. athey just wanted to compare the results of the analysis with what our devices would show. They saw that our equipment appeared to be far more precise. Among those who were interested were also processing enterprises.

As for the cost of the analysis, I can say that examination of one sample for analysis of the standard set of parameters costs from 25 to 30 UAH. It seems to me that the price is quite affordable. I think so, because the representatives of small family farms (from 10 to 100 livestock) were already contacting us, and they were not frightened with the price.

The procedure of the laboratory’s interaction with a customer is as follows. If the customers shows his interest, we provide a sampling container and a protocol for the proper selection of samples. In addition, we provide a thermobox with a refrigerant so that the selected sample can be delivered for analysis virtually unchanged.

The contract between the Laboratory and the customer is concluded depending on the customer’s requests. If he is interested in improving the quality of milk of a particular animal and its health, then, for example, it is necessary to collect the data for adjusting the feeding rarion. For this purpose there is no need to do a daily milk analysis. Every two weeks will be enough. And if it is about general milk from the herd, then, according to European practice, it is necessary to examine milk from the tank every day.

Speaking about the chain – production – delivery – processing, where laboratories are assigned the role of safety control, I would like to remind that very soon (April 4, 2018) there should come into force the Law of Ukraine “On State Control over Compliance with Legislation on Food Products, Feeds, Byproducts of Animal Origin, Animals’ Health and Welfare” (Document 2042-19). This law delimits the responsibility of each member of the production chain. The
farmer who produced milk and received from the laboratory an official result of the milk analysis, passes this milk on to the one who delivers this milk to dairy processing plant together with the responsibility for maintaining the milk characteristics. The Law stipulates that, in accordance with the requirements of HAACP, laboratory testing should be carried out at each critical point in the chain. Therefore, at the dairy plant the delivered milk, of course, will be checked before going into processing.

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