Why is Clover Milk so fresh and clean?

Greetings O’blogosphere from a new Clover voice, it is I, Mike Benedetti – Quality Assurance manager for Clover Stornetta. I am part of the dedicated team responsible for guaranteeing your Clover products are always clean, safe, and delicious.

When I lead tours through our bottling plant here in Petaluma I try to give visitors a sense of what we do here at Clover that makes our milk so great.

First, I explain that our great milk starts with the hard work and dedication from each of the family dairies that ships their milk to Clover. The care and effort they put in to keeping their herds happy and healthy makes a big impact on the quality of the milk. Each of our dairy families does an incredible job at providing us with our amazing ingredient – clean fresh wholesome milk.

Second, the Clover team at the bottling plant keeps that milk clean and cold as we pasteurize, bottle, and ship it to your local stores.

That might seem simple, but it takes a lot of effort and there are a lot of people and procedures that go into making sure we can deliver amazing milk every day of the year.

There are two good measures for “cleanliness” of milk that we check in the Quality Assurance laboratory – bacterial cell counts and somatic cell counts. Low numbers of bacterial cells and somatic cells indicate that the cows are healthy and free from infection, the udders were properly cleaned before milking, and the milking equipment is being properly cleaned. Lower cell counts also give milk that fresh clean Clover milk flavor that we all enjoy.

Our dairy quality program, the North Coast Excellence Certification program, requires that our dairies meet very strict limits on bacterial cell counts as well as somatic cell counts. These limits are much stricter than the federal limits and even California’s state limits. We report the counts daily to our dairies so they can see the results of their efforts and catch problems before they become an issue.

Bacterial Cell Counts Somatic Cell Counts
Federal Limit 300,000 750,000
California State Limit 50,000 600,000
Clover Limit 7,500 200,000
Clover Dairy Averages  for 2010 1,500 160,000

We have a comprehensive food safety plan here at the bottling plant and a team of conscientious and dedicated employees that carry it out. This keeps our milk free from contamination, adheres to the industry’s best food safety practices, and ensures we deliver a clean safe product to our customers every time.

Our mission here at Clover is to deliver great dairy products to our customers. Everyone here at Clover– from the folks milking the cows to the folks cleaning the bottling machines to the folks driving the delivery trucks, to Ms. Clo herself – everyone works hard to make sure we deliver the best possible products to you each and every day.

And so, just like I tell my visitor tours, if you have any questions brought up by this topic, please ask me (or in this case post them in the comments section) and I would be happy to answer them.

Thanks for reading,