Improvement of traditional and nomadic milk production through dairy development program in Nigeria requires routine quality and safety monitoring of milk both at herd level and milk collection centers. A total of 411 bulk raw milk samples aseptically obtained from Ibarapa, Oyo and Oke-Ogun industrial milk collection centers were subjected to California Mastitis Test (CMT), Bulk Somatic Cell Count (BSCC) and bacteriological analysis for assessment of quality and safety of milk from the herds. One hundred and seven (26.0%) of the samples were CMT positive, while 74.0% were negative to CMT. The overall mean BSCC, TAC and TCC were 1.27×103 ± cells/mL, 1.12×103± 34 cfu/mL, 97.8±9.8 cfu/mL in the CMT negative milk samples while for the strong positive samples the mean BSCC, TAC and TCC were 4.33×106 ± cells/mL, 2.35×106 ± 453 cfu/mL, 189.3±41.1 cfu/mL respectively; these were higher than the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance acceptable limits. Positive correlation was found between CMT scores and bacterial contamination and between CMT scores and SCC was recorded. About 26.0% of the samples with positive CMT could be considered unsafe due to strong correlation with microbial contamination that could result in milk borne zoonoses and public health hazards. However, a greater proportion (76.9%) of the milk with negative CMT scores could be safe for human consumption after post-harvest pasteurization. Consequently, there is need to improve handling, environmental and milking hygiene; as well as proper herd and udder health management to improve quality and safety of Nigeria dairy products.
bulk somatic cells count, bacterial pathogens, dairy herds.