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Electronic Somatic Cell Count


PHL Location

Amite Laboratory

CPT Code



Electronic Somatic Cell Count, Direct Microscopic Somatic Cell Count

Brief Description of Test

The Electronic Somatic Cell Count procedure electronically enumerates the somatic cells in a given volume of milk.

The Direct Microscopic Somatic Cell Count is where somatic cells contained in a representative and specific quantity of milk sample are transferred to a microscope slide, stained, and counted using quantitative microscopic techniques.

Possible Results

Number of somatic cells per ml of either raw bovine or caprine milk.

Reference Range

Bovine milk: <100,000 est to 750,000/ml

Caprine milk: <100,000 est to 1,000,000/ml

Specimen Type

Raw milk.

Specimen Container(s):

Collected in sterile Whirl-Pak bag or sterile plastic vials

Minimum volume accepted:

At least 40 ml

Collection Instructions

Collect a representative sample according to established protocol.

Storage and Transport Instructions

Samples must be stored on ice, the ice cannot cover the sample, and the sample must not be under water at anytime during transport or upon receipt. The sample must be received so that testing can be completed prior to 72 hours from original collection time. Samples must be received with a pilot sample of the same size and collection container as the sample. The temperature of the pilot sample must be between 0.0-4.4¢ªC

Causes for Rejection

  1. Temperature of pilot sample does not meet requirements.
  2. Time of receipt >72 hours from time of collection.
  3. Sample container is unprotected or under ice or under water when received.
  4. Sample frozen.
  5. Temperature control missing.
  6. Unsatisfactory container.
  7. Insufficient sample quantity.

Limitations of the Procedure

Electronic Counter: this procedure cannot be used for a final count on caprine milk if >1,000,000/ml which requires confirmation on DMSCC.

Direct Microscopic Count: The level of training and experience in reading the slide directly influences final count.

Interfering Substances

Electronic Counter: The age and proper concentration of dye. The age, stress level, and length of lactation period for individual cows or goats. The seasons of the year.

Direct Microscopic Count: includes all of the above plus ghost or dead cells do not easily stain. High concentration of bacteria, clumping of somatic cells, and trash particles directly limits counting ability.


Standards Methods for the Examination of Dairy Products

FDA 2400 Series for Electronic Somatic Cell Count (Somascope MKII)

FDA 2400 Series for Direct Microscopic Somatic Cell Count

Laboratory SOP Manual for Milk and Dairy Products

US FDA/CFSAN-Grade ¡°A¡± Pasteurized Milk Ordinance