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The microbiological quality of raw milk – the Total Bacteria Count – is routinely recorded by automated milk analyzers based on Flow Cytometry, whereas Standard Plate Count is still the anchor method and quoted by many official regulations. Often the units of the alternative analysers are converted into anchor method units. This Bulletin describes the experiences gained during almost 40 years and illustrates, situations where conversion of the TBC-units is relevant as well as where the units of alternative methods could be used. It provides a comparison of three possible approaches to conversion to help the users to choose the best approach. The information provided is intended to help the dairy sector in arriving at an optimal decision for each laboratory/region/country or other specific purpose.
Keywords: Raw milk, microbiological quality, Total Bacteria Count, flow cytometry, standard plate count, conversion, alternative methods.