Dairy manufacturers

Each of the sections below provide the information you'll need to ensure your business complies with regulatory and food safety requirements.

 

As a condition of your dairy manufacturer licence you must:

The complete list of dairy manufacturer licence conditions can be viewed here.

If you are currently exporting or intending to export dairy food your business must meet the requirements detailed in the Export Control (Milk and Milk Products) Orders 2005 and be registered with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. To assess if you are ready to trade, follow the steps on the Dairy Australia tradeready portal.

Exporting products can be a complicated process as each country will have different requirements. It is important to fully understand the requirements of exporting to a particular market.

Audits are conducted to determine whether or not you have complied with the requirements of your approved food safety program, and if the program is still adequate for the business being conducted.

Dairy manufacturer licensees are required to be audited at a minimum of every six months, with the first audit required to be conducted within 30 days of the commencement of operations.

 

Authorised officers

DFSV food safety managers (FSMs) are authorised officers under the Dairy Act and are also approved auditors under the Food Act and the Export Control Act 1982.

FSMs also conduct all of DFSV’s food safety compliance audits of manufacturing licensees.

All manufacturing licensees have an FSM assigned to manage day-to-day food safety and compliance issues. Your FSM should be your first point of contact for queries, incident notifications, or to alert DFSV to changes in your business.

You must contact your FSM before you make changes to your premises including building works, installation of new production lines, the type of products you manufacture, or your food safety program. DFSV approval must be sought before making the changes described so that we can determine whether food safety risks continue to be adequately managed.

DFSV will audit export registered businesses on behalf of the Department of Agriculture at the same time as conducting a regular DFSV audit, so you will not need to be audited separately.

 

The audit process

As a guide, the audit process will generally include:

  • an opening meeting with management/key food safety staff to outline the audit plan
  • a review of previous audit results
  • an inspection of your dairy premises
  • a review of the activities being conducted by your business
  • a review of your food safety program
  • a review of evidence provided by you to demonstrate compliance with the food safety program
  • an exit meeting with management to discuss the audit findings
  • provision of an audit report.
 

Preparing for an audit

You can assist in the efficient conduct of the audit by ensuring that:

  • the food safety program and records of evidence dating back to the previous audit date (or for new licensees the first date of operation) are readily accessible for review, and where applicable, filed in order
  • evidence is readily available to close out corrective action requests that are due to be closed during the audit
  • staff are aware that the audit is taking place and that they may be required to answer questions.

The more readily available this information is for the auditor, the quicker the process.

 

Corrective action requests

If an auditor identifies non-compliance with a requirement of the food safety program, Food Standards or regulations, they will issue a corrective action request (CAR). CARs are classified as minor, major or critical depending on the food safety or regulatory risk.

The audit report will list CARs issued and outline the actions required by the licensee to correct the non-compliance and prevent it from reoccurring and the time frames for CARs to be completed (closed out).

It is the licensee’s responsibility to ensure that sufficient evidence is provided to the auditor by the due date to close out a CAR. If CARs cannot be closed by the due date they will be escalated.

If a critical CAR is issued, DFSV will take enforcement action, as deemed appropriate, to protect public health.

 

Enforcement

DFSV enforces the licensing and food safety requirements of the Dairy Act 2000.

Non-compliance may be identified through inspections, audits, or complaint investigations.

DFSV will take action proportionate to the seriousness of the legislative non-compliance identified and the food safety or business risk. The DFSV enforcement model guidelines outline the actions that may be taken by DFSV in response to serious, severe or severe/sustained non-compliance.

DFSV charges fees for audits conducted by DFSV staff (authorised officers).

The fees are charged based on:

  • the time taken to conduct an audit
  • the time taken to conduct further onsite visits to close any major or critical corrective action requests (CARs) raised at an audit, and/or the time taken to close out CARs by desk top, if a site visit is not necessary
  • the number of major and critical CARs raised.

Scheduled audits are charged at an hourly rate (measured in 15 minute increments). The time taken to conduct an audit and close out any corrective action requests (CARs) will vary depending on the size and complexity of the business, the number of CARs and how well prepared the business is for audit.

Enforcement audits, which are additional audits as directed by DFSV where serious non-compliance or risk is identified, are also charged at an hourly rate (measured in 15 minute increments), however this rate is higher than the rate charged for scheduled audits to reflect the additional resources that are required to manage serious non-compliance.

Scheduled audit (per hour)$254.00 +GST
Enforcement audit (per hour)$605.00 +GST
Late payment fee$50.00 +GST
 

Desktop CAR close-out fees (based on the hourly rate for conducting scheduled audits) CARs are generated during audit when non-compliance is identified. The auditor will give a timeframe in which they must be rectified. In some situations evidence of the corrective action can be examined without another trip to your premises.

CARsCharge for CAR close-out time
1–3 major0.5 hour at the standard rate$127.00 + GST
4 or more major1.0 hour at the standard rate$254.00 + GST
1 critical0.5 hour per non-conformance at the standard rate$127.00 + GST per critical CAR
 

Onsite CAR close-out fees

Some corrective actions can only be closed out by returning to your premises. The charge for this is:

Per hour (a minimum of one hour)  $254.00 + GST

Note: DFSV does not charge for auditor travel costs

Invoices will be provided by DFSV to licensee’s following their audits. It is the licensee’s responsibility to ensure that fees for audit services are paid by their due date. A late payment fee $50 may be charged by DFSV where audit fees have not been paid by the due date.

Microbiological testing, including pathogen testing provides verification of the effectiveness of a food safety program. If through your pathogen testing program you detect contamination in your products, you must report this to your DFSV food safety manager. Guidelines on controlling affected product and preventing a reoccurrence are available here.

Product testing

In addition to company-based testing programs, DFSV conducts a product surveillance program. All Victorian dairy manufacturers participate in the program with samples of finished product collected by DFSV auditors at six-monthly audits.

Results of the program provide data on food safety risk across the industry at product and manufacturer level and on compliance with the Food Standards Code. The program provides additional verification of manufacturers’ food safety systems.

Pathogen detections

When a pathogen has been detected in your product through your internal testing or DFSV’s product surveillance program, your DFSV food safety manager will work with you to investigate the issue and determine what action is required to protect public health. The procedure to follow when a detection has been made is described in the Pathogen manual.

Product recalls

If results from licensee or DFSV testing indicate a potential health and safety risk to consumers, then a product recall may be required. The steps in the recall process and roles and responsibilities are set out in the FSANZ Food Industry Recall Protocol.

Technical information and support for licensed manufacturers is available from DFSV via a range of services.

Learning Network forums

All Victorian dairy manufacturers are invited to attend DFSV’s Learning Network forums.

The forums are held twice a year in six locations across Victoria – two in metropolitan Melbourne and four in regional Victoria and cover a range of current topics related to food safety.

You can register your interest in upcoming forums online.

Technical information notes

DFSV has developed a range of technical information notes that provide practical information on various food safety topics relevant to operating a dairy business.

A range of regulatory and technical resources are also available on this site.

Subscribe to receive email notifications when new information is available.

Technical advice

DFSV provides specialist support services to licensees, including regulations and standards interpretation and guidance, risk analysis, and technical and scientific advice.

If you need information or advice on any issue related to dairy food safety, please contact us by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or on (03) 9810 5900.