STUDY ON CERTAIN FRESHNESS AND HYGIENE PARAMETERS OF EDIBLE MILK MARKETED BY SMALL SIZE FARMERS IN IASI CITY
R.M. Radu-Rusu, M.G. Usturoi, I. Vacaru-Opriş, A. Usturoi, C.L. Cojocariu, Nadia Aioanei, Cristina Gabriela Radu-Rusu
Buying animal originated food from the small farmers within the metropolitan surroundings is a frequent behavioural pattern occurring in urban area of Romania. The situation is tributary either to certain prejudices related to the quality of the food issued from large farms or processors, usually strengthened by bad intentioned or not well informed mass-media opinions, either by the increased interests of consumers for the food sensorial features (savour, flavour, colour etc.). On the contrary, less consumers are interested in real nutritional facts or in the safety of the food bought from non trustable producers. Such a situation occurs for the whole fresh milk. This study aimed to assess the freshness and hygienic status of the milk sold in Iaşi city (apart from the markets having veterinary inspections). Laboratory analyses were performed to measure milk free acidity (Thörner method) and ionic concentration (bromothymol and alysarin methods) while reductase assay (methyl blue and resazurine methods) indicated data on its microbial payload. Out of 60 samples from de 12 different producers, 31% were found above the normal acidity (15-19°T, 6.4-6.6 pH). Hygienically, 78% of the samples were found within quality class I (good, < 500000 germs/ml), 19% within class II (satisfactory, 500000-4000000 germs/ml) and 3% within class III (bad, 4000000-20000000 germs/ml), suggesting thus misconducts in following good hygiene practice in milking, packaging, transportation and storage or even udder health problems. The results revealed, once again, the lack of responsibility of certain people producing and reselling animal originated, perishable food. Finally, we should ask: hence the consumer decides to buy food from small producers, why they endanger their and theirs families' health, for the sake of a minimal advantage on the paid amount, when they could orientate toward the veterinary surveyed markets? The situation imposes the organizing of certain activities and public debates, in order to educate the consumers to be able to choose well informed and fully responsible on the food quality and safety.
Key words: whole cow milk, small farmers, freshness, hygiene, food safety