Milk quality in the hands of Polish veterinarians

The year 2000 was not merely the turn of the century for Polish dairy cattle farmers; it was, above all, the time when the change in regulations for supplying and processing milk came into force. At that time it was customary to see churns of milk for sale displayed in front of farms in Polish villages. This system worked in times past, as then, milk was sold locally and as a rule was processed and consumed on the very same day. When Poland applied to be a member country of the European Union in 1994, it meant it had to adapt to the European law and its markets.

Let’s start at the beginning

The first to conform to the new EU regulations was the Veterinary Inspection (VI) sector. Its activity revolved around training farmers, pointing out mistakes, assisting in their correction and setting deadlines for eliminating all inconsistencies. Farmers wishing to sell milk to dairies had to accept the imposed regimes because dairies were allowed to buy only Extra class milk. VI focused mainly on the microbiological quality of milk, the hygiene of acquiring milk, in other words the processes taking place after milking. Yet, VI did not deal with the milk quality on a herd or individual animal level: its activity was not targeted at raising immunological status of an animal or herd, nor the environment management (e.g. the quality and type of bedding) nor the effective treatment of mastitis.