Overall, food safety outcomes for the SA dairy sector this year remain positive with no SA dairy products with pathogens at the retail level, no antibiotic residue in finished dairy products, and no foodborne illness associated with SA dairy products.
There was one consumer-level recall in March due to potential microbial contamination, however, even though there was significant cost and impost for the company at the time, a food recall is not necessarily a negative result from a food safety perspective, as it shows the system is working to keep potentially unsafe and unsuitable food from the retail sector to safeguard public health.
Audit results across the dairy supply chain are trending similarly to 2022 YTD as of 20 April. There have been 93 audits across dairy farms, transport and processing. One major non-conformance has been issued. During that same period, Dairysafe has investigated 11 incidents involving notifiable contaminants.
From 1 January to 20 April 2023, 80 farm audits have been completed, with no major non-conformances raised. This result verifies SA dairy farms are continuing to deliver exceptional milk safety and quality trends.
Dairysafe’s new Food Standards Officer, Ryan Turner, commenced auditing dairy farms across the three production regions in mid-March after completing a thorough induction process, including mentoring and shadowing.
The dairy industry, like many others, continues to be challenged by personnel shortages and difficulties with recruiting and retaining staff. Dairysafe is maintaining regular contact with dairy manufacturers to ensure process controls are maintained and food safety outcomes are not compromised where resourcing is an issue.
From 1 January to 20 April 2023, 12 processor audits have been completed, with one major non-conformance being raised for Hygiene, Cleaning and Sanitation. A further six compliance audits have been undertaken to verify the efficacy of corrective and preventative actions relating to non-conformances identified in late 2022.
In terms of export audits, the first round of biannual food safety audits for the 15 export-registered dairy processors has commenced in April.
The Dairysafe team is currently providing assistance to seven export dairy processors looking to vary their Approved Arrangements. In these situations, Dairysafe attends the site to witness production, reviews relevant HACCP documentation, considers commissioning data, verification, validation, monitoring, and evidence of training in order for each variation to be considered by the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF). Dairysafe works closely with our DAFF colleagues to ensure this process is as seamless as possible.