The Food Safety Update section of Food Manufacturing is designed to offer our
readers insight into the state of food safety concerns across the industry. We
received hundreds of responses to this month’s survey on dairy processing.
Lindsey Jahn, Associate Editor
Dairy processors are faced with unique challenges due to the nature of the fresh product they are handling. The majority of milk-based products are liquid or moist, creating an environment at high risk
of microbiological contamination. In addition, the animal origin of dairy
products and ingredients further increase the likelihood that such contamination will be introduced into the production process.
Manufacturers in the dairy industry take a variety of measures to
ensure the safety of their products. Thirty-four percent of readers said
that their facility is a member of the National Conference on Interstate
Milk Shipments (NCIMS), and nearly 52 percent reported that their facility
participates in Dairy Grade A Voluntary HACCP, a program developed in
collaboration with the FDA and the NCIMS. This number is up slightly from
September 2012, when 36. 4 percent reported involvement in the program.
In addition to NCIMS and the Dairy Grade A Voluntary HACCP program,
dairy processors maintain the safety of their products by utilizing a range
of methods. According to the chart at right, the majority (62.7 percent) of
survey respondents said that they have adopted quality assurance testing.
Dairy producers seem to equally favor Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO)
Standards and HACCP plans separate from the one recommended by the
FDA. Fifty-three percent of readers said that they abide by PMO standards, while 54.9 percent said that they use some type of HACCP plan.
A new voluntary option has emerged this year to help improve food
safety in dairy facilities. The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy has released
voluntary guidance for
enhanced traceability of dairy
products. While the program
is still very new, 27. 5 percent
of readers reported that they
already plan to participate in
the program, as seen in the
chart below. An equal number said that they have yet
to hear about the program,
while 45.1 percent know of
the program but do not plan
to participate at this time.
still play a large role in the
dairy industry, as 73.1 per-
cent of respondents indicat-
ed that they use third-party
auditors to inspect their
facility. About half of readers
(51.9 percent) reported that
their plants are inspected by
the FDA, while 34. 6 percent said that the USDA inspects their facilities.
Clean-in-place systems are especially crucial in dairy processing envi-
ronments, and 60 percent of readers said that they use
such systems. In fact, 22 percent of those who current-
ly have clean-in-place systems in their plants say they
plan to acquire even more.
As the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) con-
tinues to be implemented, the dairy industry overall
maintains a favorable view of the new regulations.
Readers reported that they think new FSMA require-
ments for dairy facilities are “good on the whole” and
that they plan to “fully cooperate with them.” However,
respondents also said that the new rules present some
challenges. One reader commented, “Overall I am sat-
isfied with the regulatory factors of it all. I just want to
be kept up to date,” while another respondent noted
that the FSMA is “very comprehensive and challenging
In the face of these new regulatory requirements,
dairy processors appear ready and willing to take the
necessary steps to continue to increase the food safety
of their products. The dairy industry will continue to
implement technology and other services to help create
the safest dairy products possible. ◆
How does your facility ensure
the safety of its dairy products?
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80
Have adopted quality assurance testing
Abide by another HACCP plan separate
from the one recommended by the
FDA for dairy processing facilities
Abide by Pasteurized Milk Ordinance
Involved with Dairy Grade A
Voluntary HACCP Program
ISO 22000 certification
The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy
has released voluntary guidance
for dairy product enhanced traceability.
Do you plan to participate in this program?
No, and I have
not heard about
No, but I have heard
about the program