Fact sheet


The bulk of dairy products originates from dairy cows, although commercial goat and sheep dairies may also contribute. The harvesting phase starts in the milking parlour where the animals are milked.  On farm monitoring of milk quality is usually linked to bulk milk tank testing and suboptimal findings are usually referred back to veterinarians. Many of the problems with milk hygiene are linked to activities and machinery in the milking parlour, such as incorrect vacuum pressures, incorrect milking procedures and poor animal handling facilities or hygiene. Knowledge required to interpret these findings includes the normal composition of milk, and causes of contamination and decreased shelf life.

The post-harvesting phase includes pasteurisation and homogenisation as well as the manufacture of dairy products, such as cream, butter, cheese and yoghurt. Although this phase is usually monitored by the Department of Health, quality and safety of dairy products for import and export remain mainly a veterinary responsibility. This module describes and critically analyses the regulatory framework, within which dairy production and processing occur. 

The integrated food chain management approach for dairy production and processing includes food safety and quality auditing. International regulatory norms and guidelines for dairy products are mainly linked to the Codex Alimentarius Milk Hygiene document. Auditing of dairy production and processing that is aligned to the International Standards Organisation (ISO 22000 and ISO 28000) as well as those of retailers, are also discussed.

Other relevant information

  • Milk Hygiene: Zoonoses and the dairy industry
  • Milk Hygiene: Welfare of the dairy animal
  • Milk Hygiene: Residues and contaminants
  • Milk Hygiene: Biosecurity and environmental impact.
Asset Type: 
Fact Sheet