CHARACTERIZE OF PRODUCTION SYSTEMS AND MILK QUALITY OF PRODUCTION UNITS IN THE SEMIARID REGION OF CEARÁ
Abstract The aim of this study was to characterize the production systems and milk quality of eight milk production units (MPU) in the semiarid region of the state of Ceará, Brazil. Individual interviews were conducted through a questionnaire on the characteristics of the properties and production systems. Samples of milk and water were collected for a period of 12 months. Four MPUs were classified as semi-specialized and four as non-specialized. No differences were observed in milk composition between the two production systems, and both showed protein, fat, and solids-not-fat levels. Differences were observed for somatic cell count. The semi-specialized systems showed an average somatic cell and total bacterial count which is above the limit established by the 62nd Normative Instruction. All water samples showed presence of Escherichia coli. Somatic cell count was positively correlated (fat) and negatively (lactose). For total bacterial count, correlations were negative for fat, total solids, and somatic cell count. The microbiological quality of milk is not in accordance with the 62st and 7th Normative Instructions. The specialization of the production systems did not result in improved microbiological aspects of milk.