Farm dairy requirements
Find out what the requirements are for farm dairy operators – including dairy farmers, sharemilkers, and dairy farm managers.
FARM DAIRY ASSESSMENT AND SUPPORT DURING COVID-19 ALERT LEVELS 3 AND 4
Farm dairy assessments are to proceed as scheduled but with the following additional precautions in place.
- Farm dairy operators will be:
- contacted prior to the assessment and advised that the assessment is scheduled to go ahead
- advised of the additional precautions to be followed by the assessor, including washing, drying, and sanitising of hands and equipment
- requested to have any required paperwork available at the dairy, noting (4) below
- advised that it is preferable that they are not present at the dairy during the assessment but that they remain available by phone. If they insist on being present or are required due to unexpected circumstances to be present, then the assessor will maintain an appropriate distance of at least 2m throughout the assessment.
- To the greatest extent practical, farm dairy assessors should complete the documentation and records aspects of the assessment remotely, either prior to or post the audit (for example, to follow-up on information expected but not available at the time of the on-farm component of the assessment). As this is not standard practice, there may be a delay in providing the findings of the remote assessment to the farm dairy operator. Note that the farm dairy assessor undertaking the remote assessment aspects and the farm dairy assessor doing the on-farm component do not need to be the same person.
- Farm dairy assessment schedules are to be organised to allow farm dairy assessors to return to their home each day unless this is unavoidable and the farm dairy assessor agrees.
- If a farm dairy assessment cannot proceed because the farm dairy operator refuses to allow the farm dairy assessment to proceed, then the farm dairy operator is to be advised that:
- remote assessment of records, procedures, and other documents may be required at this time
- the farm dairy will receive 2 full farm dairy assessments in the 2021/22 season, with one in spring and one in autumn
- in some circumstances MPI may direct an animal products officer to undertake an assessment.
- Other food safety related on-farm activities such as grade assistance and antibiotic testing is also an essential service and must proceed in line with the precautions above.
This situation is changing quickly, and the advice above will be updated when required.
If you have any questions about these requirements email email@example.com
Laws that apply to farm dairies
Farm dairy owners and operators have legal obligations and duties under the Animal Products Act (APA) 1999 and the Animal Products (Dairy) Regulations 2005.
Who the laws cover
A farm dairy operator is a person, company, or organisation responsible for some or all of the activities at a farm dairy.
Other people who also need to know the legal requirements for dairy operations include:
- farm dairy assessors
- recognised farm dairy risk management programme (RMP) evaluators and verifiers
- other people and organisations who have an interest in supporting dairy farmers in the production and harvesting of milk.
Farm dairy operators must have an RMP
Under the APA, all farm dairy operators must operate under a risk management programme (RMP). This covers the harvesting, filtering, cooling, and storage activities in the farm dairy.
If you supply milk to a dairy company
In most cases, the dairy company you supply milk to will be registered as the farm dairy RMP operator. If this is the case, they will provide you with a:
- milk supplier's handbook
- milk supply contract or terms and conditions of supply.
These describe what you need to do to meet minimum food safety requirements.
Companies may set out extra requirements, so they can:
- meet the requirements of specific countries they're exporting to
- fulfil other legal or commercial obligations.
If you supply a dairy company but also process some of your own milk
Your RMP for milk harvesting activities must cover all intended uses of the milk you harvest. For example, if you supply some milk to a manufacturing company such as Fonterra or Westland, and you keep some to make products such as cheese on your own farm, you will need to have your own RMP to cover this activity.
If you're not sure whether you need your own RMP, email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you supply milk for raw milk products
If you supply milk for the manufacture of raw milk products (such as raw milk cheeses), there are extra requirements your RMP will need to meet. These are covered in a animal products notice. The code of practice can help you to write an RMP that will meet the requirements of the notice.
Animal Products Notice: Raw Milk Products Specifications [PDF, 304 KB]
Selling raw drinking milk to consumers
Farmers can sell raw drinking milk directly to consumers at their farm or by home delivery. If you do this, there are food safety requirements you must meet to minimise any risks to public health.
Design and operation of farm dairies
If you produce raw milk (including colostrum) that's intended for further processing, you need to comply with the code of practice for the design and operation of your dairy. The code sets out the requirements for farm dairy operators, and anyone else involved in the:
- design and construction of farm dairies
- supply and maintenance of equipment
- supporting activities at the farm dairy.
Alternative dairy premises and equipment designs
Clause 3.10 of NZCP1 – "Alternative premises and equipment designs" – allows new technologies and novel designs to be assessed on the basis that they are often complete systems and may not have been contemplated when the code of practice was first written.
Novel technologies and alternative premises and equipment designs that don't meet NZCP1 requirements are considered suitable if they have been:
- assessed and confirmed as acceptable, and
- listed on our register.
Each listing on the register includes the following information:
- whether the designs and technologies have been assessed by MPI as suitable for the specified purpose
- any conditions on use or operating considerations that apply
- any restrictions on location, construction, installation or use that have been imposed.
The register will also show whether the listing is:
- provisional (for example, to facilitate on-farm trials)
- on hold (awaiting further data before a determination can be made)
- approved (accepted as a suitable alternative), or
If you're a farm dairy operator, we recommend you consult this register – along with your farm dairy assessor and dairy company representative – before committing to any novel technology, new premises, facilities, equipment, or services design.
Requesting MPI approval
If you want to request MPI approval for new technologies, or alternative premises and equipment designs, apply using the form and follow the procedure document.
Chemicals used in farm dairies
Chemicals used in a farm dairy, such as detergents and sanitisers, are known as "dairy maintenance compounds". These must be approved by MPI. The label should state that the chemical has been approved by either MPI, MAF, or NZFSA for use in farm dairies.
Approved and recognised dairy maintenance compounds [XLSX, 971 KB]
What to do if you suspect milk is contaminated
If you're concerned that milk in your bulk milk tank may be contaminated in any way, you must:
- advise your dairy company immediately
- remove the milk from the vat as soon as possible.
Milk in the bulk milk tank is assumed to be safe, suitable, and available for collection unless steps have been taken to disable collection. Such steps might include:
- a lock on the vat
- clear signage near the vat outlet that the milk is not for collection.
MPI milk monitoring programme
As well as the routine testing of tankers and individual farm milk supplies by dairy companies, MPI operates a national programme to monitor chemical residues and contaminants in milk on farms. This programme screens for more than 300 compounds. Any detection of chemicals above acceptable limits has serious consequences for both the individual supplier and the company processing the milk.
Who to contact
If you have questions about farm dairies, email email@example.com