In recent years, one saying has become very popular: “May you live in interesting times”. While seemingly a blessing, the expression is normally used ironically, but can be applied quite literally in the milk quality industry of today.
What I have learned in the last 10 years about milk quality is that it can have a different meaning for everyone involved in milk production, including farmers, veterinarians, dairy plant workers and finally consumers.
Of course, all global regulations and local policies help to produce safe and healthy milk. However, depending on the individual who is directly or indirectly involved in milk production, there are different ways to achieve this. What is more alarming, though, is that there are also different points of view.
So our task as professionals is to make sure that all rules are transparent, acceptable to all interested parties, easier to implement and, last but not least, properly followed up. We need to speak with one voice about animal health, welfare, sustainable dairy farming, and combating antimicrobial resistance by promoting the appropriate use of antibiotics, reliable diagnostic tools, management and mastitis prevention through vaccination.
It may sound like mission impossible, but only in this way will we be able to provide a high quality product that meets the highest standards and consumer needs and expectations.
For the last eight years I have been personally involved in a non-governmental organization called the Polish Mastitis Association, the primary goal of which is to promote preventative measures related to mastitis among Polish veterinarians. Nowadays, it could better be called “a platform” where all professionals involved in milk production in Poland are united in their efforts to produce excellent milk.
I do believe that thanks to similar initiatives (of course not forgetting the National Mastitis Council in the United States or the Conselho Português de Saúde do Úbere in Portugal), we can find new ways and new opportunities to achieve common targets in milk quality.
So to sum up, I think it is a very interesting time to be involved in milk quality.
Michal Pochodyla is a DVM and PhD based in Warsaw, Poland. He is the originator and co-founder of the Polish Mastitis Association, serving as vice-president. Since 2006, he has been associated with the veterinary pharmaceutical sector and is now a Brand Manager at Laboratorios HIPRA S.A. where he supports the company with marketing, scientific and sales knowledge.