NCIMS keeps national SCC limit at 750,000 with failed vote

Two proposals related to somatic cell count limit changes were brought before the 51 potential delegates at this year's biennial National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments (NCIMS), held in Portland, Ore., April 24-29.

Again a proposal to lower the somatic cell count to 400,000, already required for any products to be exported to Europe, and therefore required by most processors/cooperatives as a geometric mean. But, again, it was defeated, reported the National Mastitis Council. This year's vote was 18 yes to 32 no (Delaware did not attend) from the delegates representing 49 states and Puerto Rico. Thus, the national somatic cell count limit will remain at 750,000.

The proposal to lower the somatic cell count was sponsored by the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and supported by the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) whom submitted a similar proposal in 2013.

This year, two proposals related to somatic cell count were brought forward. Proposals are first heard in smaller "councils" before being brought to the assembly of delegates. The IDFA proposal first failed in Council 1, before being amended and being brought to the floor for the failed vote.

In 2013, the NMPF proposal first failed 22-28, then was reconsidered but failed 26-25. In 2011, a proposal also failed 26-25.

This is the ninth time a proposal to lower somatic cell counts to 400,000 was defeated at the every-other year meeting. The proposal would have moved the limits to 600,000 on January 1, 2016, and 400,000 on January 1, 2017. It also would have limited sheep, water buffalo, and camel milk to 750,000, while goat milk remained at 1,500,000.