Invited review: Controlling dairy product spoilage to reduce food loss and waste.

Affiliation

Martin NH(1), Torres-Frenzel P(2), Wiedmann M(2).
Author information:
(1)Milk Quality Improvement Program, Department of Food Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853. Electronic address: [Email]
(2)Milk Quality Improvement Program, Department of Food Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

Abstract

Food loss and waste is a major concern in the United States and globally, with dairy foods representing one of the top categories of food lost and wasted. Estimates indicate that in the United States, approximately a quarter of dairy products are lost at the production level or wasted at the retail or consumer level annually. Premature microbial spoilage of dairy products, including fluid milk, cheese, and cultured products, is a primary contributor to dairy food waste. Microbial contamination may occur at various points throughout the production and processing continuum and includes organisms such as gram-negative bacteria (e.g., Pseudomonas), gram-positive bacteria (e.g., Paenibacillus), and a wide range of fungal organisms. These organisms grow at refrigerated storage temperatures, often rapidly, and create various degradative enzymes that result in off-odors, flavors, and body defects (e.g., coagulation), rendering them inedible. Reducing premature dairy food spoilage will in turn reduce waste throughout the dairy continuum. Strategies to reduce premature spoilage include reducing raw material contamination on-farm, physically removing microbial contaminants, employing biocontrol agents to reduce outgrowth of microbial contaminants, tracking and eliminating microbial contaminants using advanced molecular microbiological techniques, and others. This review will address the primary microbial causes of premature dairy product spoilage and methods of controlling this spoilage to reduce loss and waste in dairy products.