Dairysafe is close to releasing the new ‘Guidelines for the safe manufacture of dairy products’, a major piece of work that has been a year in the making.

The new guidelines will alert dairy businesses to the hazards and risks in the products they manufacture, and suggest ways they can reduce risks to customers.

The guidelines will also supply scientific backing for a dairy business’ Food Safety Plan and provide background information so dairy businesses can meet all regulatory and customer requirements for the safe manufacture of products.

The guidelines have been drafted by Dr John Sumner in cooperation with Dairysafe staff, and have benefited greatly from input from industry and regulatory and technical experts.

Industry workshops were held in regional centres in September to finalise the guidelines and complete the industry consultation process. The comprehensive document is being prepared for printing and will be distributed to all diary processes and manufactures by the end of the year.

“This is an important document for the South Australia dairy industry and we’re thrilled that we’re nearing the time to launch it,” said Dairysafe CEO Geoff Raven. “It’s part of our commitment to provide the tools industry needs to create safe products and sustainable businesses.”

The dairy industry manufactures a wide range of heat treated, fermented, liquid, curd-based and dried products, using milk from cattle, sheep, goats, buffalo and camels.

Shelf-life varies widely, from a few days to months and even years. Products such as powders and long life milks may be stored at room temperature, while other products such as milks, cheeses and yoghurts must be chilled. All dairy products are ready to eat foods.

The manufacture of dairy products involved many risk factors, which are summed up in the Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) Risk Profile of Dairy Products in Australia.

“Dairy products containing elevated levels of fat or solids such as ice-cream mixes, cream and yoghurt, warrant higher time/temperature combinations than those currently specified in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code) to compensate for the protective effect of fat and solids on microorganisms. Post-pasteurisation contamination however, is an ongoing management issue for manufacturers in the provision of safe dairy products. Contamination may result from the environment, including equipment, personnel or contamination of finished product with raw materials. Rigorous control over hygiene, cleaning and sanitation, and product handling is therefore necessary to ensure safety of the final product post-heat treatment.”

Dr John Sumner