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Co-construction of a method for evaluating the intrinsic quality of bovine milk in relation to its fate

Abstract : There are time-tested assessments for the environmental and economic aspects of sustainability. Its societal aspect has mainly been approached through the assessment of animal welfare. However, the intrinsic quality of milk is seldom taken into account. We developed a participatory construction method for the overall assessment of intrinsic milk quality in its different dimensions (sensory, technological, nutritional and health), according to the fate of the raw milk. Two assessment models were developed, for semiskimmed standardized ultra-high temperature (UHT) milk and for pressed uncooked non-standardized raw milk cheese. They were constructed by a participatory approach involving experts in the dairy sector with the aim to obtain a diagnostic tool that could be used in the field to help farmers to manage the quality of their milk (by prioritizing improvements on major problems). They were shaped from prerequisite specifications (limited costs and time of application, desire to obtain a transparent tool with all the steps kept visible) and current technical and scientific knowledge. They were based on indicators obtained from raw bulk tank milk analyses (30 for UHT milk and 50 for cheese assessments), which were then aggregated into criteria, principles, dimensions and overall intrinsic quality at farm level. The assessment models had parts in common, for example, same four dimensions, common indicators for health and nutritional dimensions. They also had process-specific features: units chosen, criteria, indicators and weightings in relation to the final product specifications. For instance, sensory and technological dimensions are more complex and preponderant in the cheese assessment (three principles for cheese vs one for UHT milk in both dimensions). Another example is the lack of microbial pathogens (as potential health risk for consumer) in the UHT milk assessment because of pasteurization. The assessment models then underwent a sensitivity analysis and an application in 30 farms in indoor and grazing periods to finally obtain overall UHT milk and cheese quality scores at a 1-year level. The tool was found to be applicable at farm level. However, we observed low overall quality scores with a narrow dispersion, characteristic of a severe evaluation. Even so, the assessment models showed up seasonal differences of the UHT milk and cheese quality at both overall and dimensional levels. In the light of new scientific knowledge and future quality objectives, these are adaptable to other dairy products allowing for their specific features.
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Contributor : Raphaëlle Botreau <>
Submitted on : Monday, June 14, 2021 - 12:08:18 PM
Last modification on : Friday, September 10, 2021 - 9:31:29 AM


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Lucille Rey-Cadilhac, Raphaëlle Botreau, Anne Ferlay, Sophie Hulin, Catherine Hurtaud, et al.. Co-construction of a method for evaluating the intrinsic quality of bovine milk in relation to its fate. animal, Published by Elsevier (since 2021) / Cambridge University Press (until 2020), 2021, 15 (7), pp.100264. ⟨10.1016/j.animal.2021.100264⟩. ⟨hal-03259574⟩



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