Dairysafe has run four state-wide workshops to identify appropriate training solutions for industry-wide training on notifiable contaminants across all levels, from operators and supervisors to technical leads.

Dairysafe will use this knowledge to create a specialised and risk-oriented training program for the dairy processing sector.

Funded by the South Australian Government, the training will focus on the main notifiable contaminants E.coli and coliforms, listeria and Staph aureus.

CEO of Dairysafe Geoff Raven said knowledge and training on notifiable contaminants was a significant gap in the dairy processing sector.

“Over the past two years, dairy processors have reported a large number of breakdowns in food safety due to notifiable contaminants,” Geoff said.

“The notifiable contaminants are identified as a result of routine in-house product testing. When microbiological standards are breached, the results must be reported to SA Health and Dairysafe.”

Dairysafe assessed the reported incidents for trends which has shown breakdowns in process control, GMP and GHP are the main causative factors. In the main, the breakdowns look to be due to a lack of supervision, knowledge and training.

As a result, Dairysafe urged the South Australian Government to consider developing a suitable training solution for the dairy processing sector.

In the interim, the SA Government is funding Dairysafe’s notifiable containments training program.

“We’ve involved the industry for direction in what this program should cover, and to help identify appropriate training options for training across all levels,” Geoff said.

“This included a reference panel and feedback via four state-wide industry workshops. We need the industry to advise us on targeting training needs related to dairy processing, any current training resources and how to best deliver training to the industry.”

Based on that feedback, Dairysafe is developing online training modules and support information that will address some of the current gaps in dairy processor training.

“The industry workshops were very helpful. They illustrated what’s out there for technicians, operators and owners, which enabled us to get feedback on where Dairysafe should focus the training content,” Geoff said.

“In terms of attendance and contribution, around 40% of dairy processors were represented at the forums which provided exceptional feedback and direction to Dairysafe.”

Dairysafe continues to work with the industry reference panel on developing three training programs, each with up to five modules, focused on the key notifiable contaminants, how they get into the processing facility, key controls, how they can multiply and be detected in final product, where breakdowns can occur and how to investigate the cause of those breakdowns.

The training programs will be available in July 2024.