Alsace-Lait Cooperative chooses D-COUNT® to reduce its industrial costs and protect its brand image
Alsace-Lait Cooperative is the only independent dairy cooperative in Eastern France. Deeply attached to its regional roots, it is present in 170 Alsatian villages, with nearly 250 producers who supply the cooperative on a daily basis.
Committed to excellence in the production of high quality products, Alsace-Lait Cooperative maintains a high level of hygiene standards.
28 500 samples are analyzed on a yearly basis by Mr Gutheleben, Laboratory Manager, and his team to control the quality of the products leaving the cooperative.
Alsace-Lait Cooperative: 100 years of expertise in dairy processing
Alsace-Lait Coopérative was born in 1979 from the merger of the Laiterie Centrale de Strasbourg. Created in 1915, with four cooperatives from the region, it prides itself on maintaining an exemplary level of high quality products. It offers a wide range of products from cottage cheese to cream, including milk. The unique knowhow of Alsace-Lait Cooperative in terms of dairy products is recognized each year by the attribution of the Label Rouge approval for fresh cream from Alsace, unique in France, and the High Quality certification for fresh milk. In order to maintain its reputation and to guarantee the safety of its consumers, the cooperative’s products are subjected to strict microbiological analyses.
Microbiological analyses at Alsace-Lait Cooperative before bioMérieux’s arrival
For white cheeses, the cooperative’s release criteria require a total absence of yeast and mold. For milk and UHT desserts, absence of total flora is expected. Before the arrival of the D-COUNT® technology, it was necessary to wait 72 hours for a yeast and mold result with traditional methods. For total flora, the laboratory used a pH test for which it was necessary to wait one week.
What is the D-COUNT® technology?
The D-COUNT® system is an advanced analytical solution for the ultra-fast detection of microorganisms. The rapidity of microbiological tests performed with the D-COUNT® system accelerates the decision making process of production and quality departments, overcoming the limitations of traditional microbiology imposed by the growth rates of microorganisms in culture media.
The installation of the D-COUNT® instrument at Alsace Lait Cooperative has reduced all release times to 48 hours for all products. This means one day less for yeast and mold tests and five days less for total flora.
Today we can’t do without the D-COUNT®
The arrival of the D-COUNT® technology at Alsace-Lait Cooperative: a gain of time and sensitivity at the service of the production
«A gain of one day of storage, it is very important for the company!» says Mr.Guthleben, the laboratory manager. By reducing the waiting time for results, inventory costs can be reduced and storage space can be reduced by more than 70%. The production cycle time (including storage) is reduced and the products are released to the market faster. The financial gain is therefore significant for Alsace-Lait Cooperative. Beyond the time saving, the D-COUNT® technology has improved the quality and sensitivity of microbiological control by allowing the discovery of events that would not have been detected with the old method. This has made it possible to avoid marketing product which would have been potentially recalled, contributing strongly to the protection of the brand image that Alsace-Lait Cooperative has established.
“Thanks to the D-COUNT® technology, production performance is improved, reducing storage areas by 70%. It also contributes to a better protection of Alsace-Lait Cooperative’s brands, the whole company benefits from the performance of this technology”.
The D-COUNT® analyzer is also used throughout the production process, including intermediate products such as semi-finished products and curd silos. Additional samples can therefore be analyzed at various intermediate stages before packaging. The D-COUNT® technology has become an indispensable production aid because it allows to identify the origin of contamination.
Mr. Guthleben testifies to this change: «With traditional methods, we could only see the big problems. Thanks to the D-COUNT® system, we have a better sensitivity in our microbiological control».
For Mr. Guthleben, it is impossible to imagine going back to the way things were: «Today we can’t do without the D-COUNT®». He continues: «The D-COUNT® is a production control tool: the entire production process has been reorganized around it. In addition, the analysis method is pleasant. It suits the operators fine. They quickly got used to the device».
With the help of the D-COUNT® system, the cooperative can focus its time and effort on what it does best: fresh, high-quality Alsatian products. «I sleep better now that I have the D-COUNT® instrument», concludes the laboratory manager.