The objective of the study was to evaluate mesophyle, psychrotroph and somatic cell counts (SCC), and presence of Staphylococcus aureus in raw milk produced in 42 dairy farms of the State of São Paulo. Farms were classified according to milk yield in low (< 400 L/day, n = 17), intermediate (400 - 1,000 L/day, n = 8) and high milk production (> 1,000 L/day, n = 17). Mesophylic bacteria counts were lower (p < 0.05) in high production farms, with no differences (p > 0.05) in psychrotrophic and somatic cell counts between the three categories. S. aureus was more frequent (p < 0.05) in the milk of individual cows in intermediate production farms. Percentage of samples that did not comply with SCC tolerance limits in grade B milk ranged from 29.4 (low production) to 52.9% (high production). Results indicate that the greatest difficulties for dairy farms to comply with milk quality parameters are related to the adoption of hygiene practices during milking and to failures in milk conservation.
Key words: Milk quality, mesophyles, psychrotrophs, somatic cell counts (SCC),Staphylococcus aureus.
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