Dairy Laboratory Equipment

Written by Jared Vincenti
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Dairy laboratory equipment is very similar to a standard biological lab, but much larger. A dairy lab generally re-uses more supplies than a medical lab--since milk itself is not alive, the only danger of contamination is that the milk might go to waste. Since all milk is checked for contamination before shipping, there is no chance of shipping contaminated milk, so labs can sterilize their tools and re-use them.

What Goes on in a Dairy Lab

Most dairy laboratories follow standard operating procedures, and lab protocols are well-established. As labs pasteurize milk, they heat it to kill the micro-organisms in it. The aim of pasteurizing food is not to sterilize it, but to reduce the number of micro-organisms in it to the point that infection is unlikely. This is another reason that dairy labs can re-use sterilized equipment.

Another common process at a dairy lab is the separation of the fat from the milk. This is done by mechanically separating the fat from the rest of the milk, and then skimming it off the top of the solution. This is where we get the name "skim milk" for reduced-fat milk. This skimmed fat can then be used in other dairy products, such as cheeses and yogurts.

In experimental dairy labs, agricultural scientists find better ways to store and process milk. They develop new cheeses, find ways to keep flavor in low-fat milks, and find better ways to reduce the risk of milk contamination. These labs are much smaller than processing labs, and they usually stock much smaller supplies than commercial labs.

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