Dairy hygiene inspections

FSA dairy hygiene inspections aim to ensure a satisfactory standard of hygiene is maintained on all dairy farms by inspecting milking premises, equipment and milk-producing animals, and enforcing satisfactory standards. The inspections help to protect the nation's raw milk supply from the risk of contamination by bacteria and other substances, some of which are potentially harmful.

England and Wales

Since 1 April 2012, dairy hygiene inspections in England and Wales have been carried out by FSA staff (who have appropriate qualifications and training). This follows a review and the decision to take these inspections in house. Prior to April 2012, the FSA contracted the carrying out official controls at milk production holdings in England and Wales to the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) and its predecessor organisations.

Inspectors enforce parts of European Commission regulations 852/2004, 853/2004, 854/2004 and the Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006 and Food Hygiene (Wales) Regulations 2006 as amended. These regulations apply to all premises used for the production of raw milk for human consumption, and involve the registration of approved production premises (dairy farms), inspection of milking premises, equipment and milk-producing animals, and enforcing satisfactory standards.

The inspectors also supervise a sampling programme of raw drinking milk, which is carried out on behalf of the FSA by Eclipse Scientific Group in England and Wales.

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland dairy hygiene inspection is carried out by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Quality Assurance Branch.

Frequency of inspections across the UK

Different delivery mechanisms across the UK can mean that similar farms in different parts of the country are subject to different inspection frequencies.

Additional checks are carried out on farms that are members of the Assured Dairy Farmer scheme (a Red Tractor assurance scheme). In the UK, there are approximately 12,000 holdings that are audited every 18 months against the Assured Dairy Farm Scheme standards. The inspection frequencies in England and Wales reflect, where appropriate, membership of the Assured Dairy Farm Scheme. In Northern Ireland, the new inspection system will be phased in over two years.

Registration and further information

England and Wales

The application form for food business operators to register a milk production holding in England and Wales can be found below. For further information about registration, please contact:

Approvals Admin Team
Room 112 Foss House
Kings Pool
Peasholme Green
York YO1 7PR
tel: 01904 232060
fax: 01904 232229
email: approvals@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk

Northern Ireland
Information about registration of a milk production holding in Northern Ireland can be found on the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) website via the 'External sites' link.

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