Turvallisen ja hygieenisen maidon edistys ja kehitys

Somatic cell counts in Finnish milk

The somatic cell count (SCC) of milk is an indicator of udder health. Cows with healthy udders produce SCC below 200 000 cells/ml. On Finnish dairy farms, SCC are evaluated bimonthly from the farm's bulk tank milk. In 2021, the Finnish Association for Milk Hygiene received SCC data from 99% Finnish dairy farms.

Finnish milk has low SCC

In 2021, the national arithmetic mean for SCC in Finnish bulk tank milk was 151 900 cells/ml, and the national geometric mean SCC in bulk tank milk was 132 000 cells/ml. These values are among the lowest in the world, indicating that udder health in Finnish dairy herds in exceptionally good.


FIGURE 1. Low somatic cell and bacterial counts indicate
that Finnish milk has excellent hygienic quality.


Seasonal fluctuations in SCC

SCC are slightly higher during the summer months in comparison to other seasons. In 2021, mean somatic cell counts were the highest in July. 



FIGURE 2. SCC are slightly elevated during the summer months. 


EU criterion for SCC in bulk tank milk

Legislation of the European Union maintains that SCC in bulk tank milk should not exceed 400 000 cells/ml (calculated using a 3-month geometric mean). In 2021, 0.08% of milk samples from Finnish dairy farms exceeded the EU criterion.

FIGURE 3. The portion of Finnish milk samples exceeding the EU criterion for somatic cell counts in milk has significantly decreased over the past two decades.