To guarantee that food products are safe and meet the required standards, it is crucial to implement Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP). This involves adhering to a set of principles and procedures that ensure consistent production and control of dairy products.

“By following GMP arrangements meticulously, risks associated with dairy processing are reduced, ultimately ensuring the safety and suitability of food items. Achieving success hinges on the consistent adherence to GMP principles and procedures,” said Geoff Raven, CEO of Dairysafe.

These are the five critical P’s of GMP:

  • People – It is important for individuals to understand their roles and responsibilities and ensure that they are operating within their capabilities. Proper training must be provided to all personnel involved in manufacturing and process control.
  • Premises – Maintaining cleanliness and properly calibrated equipment is crucial in your dairy processing facility. Manufacturing and storage facilities should consistently follow predetermined conditions and undergo routine monitoring.
  • Processes – It is important to have clear and consistent processes for manufacturing. These steps should be properly documented, simple to follow, and validated to ensure the safety and suitability of all products.
  • Products – Throughout the production process, it is crucial to have clear specifications for all products. This includes carefully formulating, testing, and labelling both raw materials and final products to ensure they meet all necessary requirements for safety and suitability.
  • Procedures – Guidelines must be followed when executing critical processes. It is necessary to document all manufacturing procedures to ensure uniform quality and compliance with food safety standards.

While we’re talking about GMP we shouldn’t forget the importance of process control and GHP (Good Hygienic Practices).

There are a number of vital steps, or unit operations, in dairy processing, that keep customers and businesses safe. Primarily, process controls reduce the level of pathogens and control food safety hazards at all stages of dairy production. They require rigorous monitoring to ensure each unit operation is controlled:

  • Active chilling
  • Chill storage
  • Heating
  • Salting
  • Acidification
  • Water removal

They all come under the banner of process controls within a HACCP plan and are referred to as either control points, critical control points, or regulatory control points. They are all ‘must do’ controls.

You can find out more about these essential process controls in the Guidelines for the Safe Manufacturing of Dairy Products’.

Maintaining good hygiene is crucial in the dairy industry to minimise or prevent potential contamination by stopping entry of pathogens and bacteria from unhygienic milking procedures, equipment, milk contact surfaces, staff, storage or packaging conditions.

When cleaning goes wrong

The largest outbreak of food poisoning associated with a dairy product occurred in the USA when ice cream caused 224,000 illnesses due to Salmonella. The outbreak was traced to a milk tanker that delivered pre-mix to the ice cream plant. Its previous load had been raw egg pulp and it hadn’t been cleaned properly before the ice cream mix was loaded.

So, it’s critically important to get good hygiene practices right.

In terms of cleaning, there are 2 distinct elements, cleaning and sanitising. How to deliver cleaning solutions is outlined in the Guidelines for the Safe Manufacturing of Dairy Products’.

Other essential aspects of GHP to consider include:

  • PPE – including footwear, clean, appropriate for use, and properly stored.
  • Personal hygiene – exclusion of sick staff, preventing contamination being brought in via jewellery etc, following strict hand washing and sanitising procedures, hair restraints.
  • Documented procedures, signage and training.
  • Construction and equipment – fit for purpose, don’t cause contamination and able to be cleaned and sanitised.
  • Pest prevention.