IDF/ICAR project on somatic cell counting

IDF and ICAR have jointly launched a project which intends to set up an international reference system for somatic cell counting in raw milk. Details on the project can be found in the last issue of the IDF Newsletter available here.

ICAR also advises that the EU Joint Research Centre has launched the new certified (primary) reference material for somatic cell counting. More information, here

A need for worldwide equivalence of analytical results

Global markets with expanding streams of exported/imported goods demand for a more focused attention on equivalence of analytical results. Traceable analytical results are key in free and fair trade.

However, it occurs that worldwide equivalence of analytical results cannot in all cases be safeguarded by applying standardized analytical methods or the use of certified reference materials. With some parameters, such certified reference materials are lacking and the reference method shows limited performance.

As an alternative, sophisticated large scale reference systems can serve where traditional calibration schemes are lacking precision and effectiveness.

A joint IDF/ICAR Action Team is currently working on:

Obtaining a suitable reference material, representative and stable.

  • A calculation model for determining assigned values based on measurements in multiple laboratories..
  • A laboratory database with a competence scoring system.
  • Exploring the existing solutions and linking them to test the concept in a pilot study.
  • Communicating the project to analytical-oriented stakeholders (laboratories, reference material providers, instrument manufacturers), and other stakeholders (dairy organizations, dairy herd improvement organizations, animal health bodies, regulatory bodies).
  • Communication plan to promote the project near analytical-oriented stakeholders (laboratories, reference material providers), and other stakeholders (animal health bodies, authorities).


Expected results

  • A reference system that is complementary to the ‘traditional’ way of calibrating routine methods.
  • An implementation in the dairy sector that will promote the acceptance and mutual confidence in somatic cell count data, thereby helping free and fair trade.
  • By demonstrating the value of a reference system for a better global equivalence in somatic cell counting, to initiate the adoption of the approach for other relevant parameters.


Issues of the IDF Newsletter describing the project

Information about the IDF-ICAR Project on an international reference system for somatic cell counting in raw milk can be found in the specific Newsletters produced by IDF:

ICAR, Arthur van Schendelstraat 650, 3511 MJ Utrecht, The Netherlands - Email: