The milk professor conquers bacteria

Miia Lindström, the newly appointed Professor of Industrial Milk Hygiene, develops milk product safety and quality through the endowed professorship. Lindström is one of five new Professors appointed to the University of Helsinki.

Maitolasi kädessä

The foundation honouring the life’s work of milk hygiene pioneer Walter Ehrström has endowed two permanent professorships in milk hygiene at the University of Helsinki. Lecturer Miia Lindström, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, has been appointed to one of the chairs as of 1 March 2009.

Lindström’s area of specialty involves all factors affecting the quality and safety of milk upon its arrival at the dairy and the products made from it. Production hygiene can be improved through appropriate equipment and material choices. “Machinery that is difficult to clean offer ideal conditions for bacteria to prosper,” says Lindström.

In Finland, the safety and quality of milk products are among the best in Europe. Various recommendations concerning sell-by dates and storage times have been issued based on food hygiene research. The sell-by dates on the milk cartons are therefore more than just guesses.

Lindström has studied the spore-forming family of bacteria that cause food poisoning at the Centre of Excellence in Microbial Food Safety Research at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. Now she will get to apply the same methods in milk research.

Milk product researchers are especially interested in bacteria that spoil food. “Not all bacteria cause illness, but using a product that has gone off is nonetheless unpleasant,” says Lindström.

The other four Professors appointed as Professors as of February or March 2009 are Anneli Aejmelaeus (Old Testament and Middle East Culture and Literature), Karri Muinonen (Planetary Astronomy and Geodesy), Ulpu Saarialho-Kere (Applied Dermatology and Venereology) and Heikki Seppä (Quaternary Geology).

Text: Marja Lintula
Photo: Maito ja Terveys ry, Studio Piquant / Antti Hallakorpi

Translation: AAC Noodi Oy

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