Each of the sections below provide the information you'll need to ensure your business complies with regulatory and food safety requirements.
Pursuant to Section 26(3) of the Dairy Act 2000 (Vic), Dairy farmer licences are issued with the following conditions.
The licence holder must:
a. ensure that the licensed premises is maintained and dairy food is produced, handled and stored in accordance with relevant provisions of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code
b. ensure an auditor approved by Dairy Food Safety Victoria, or an authorised officer under the Dairy Act, verifies the implementation of, and continued compliance with, an approved dairy food safety program through an audit at a frequency no greater than 24 months and within six months of a new licence being listed
c. comply with any written corrective action request by an approved auditor or an authorised officer pertaining to their approved food safety program within the stated time frames specified in the request
d. advise Dairy Food Safety Victoria prior to making any changes pertaining to the premises, equipment or processes carried out at the premises
e. ensure that milk or any milk product which is sold, delivered or supplied by the licence holder other than:
i. for human consumption; or
ii. to another holder of a licence under the Dairy Act,
is treated in a manner approved by Dairy Food Safety Victoria so as to deter human consumption and such that the milk or milk product could not reasonably be mistaken as for human consumption.
Or any other conditions imposed specific to your licence.
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 farmer licensees are required to be audited at a minimum of once every two years, with the first audit required to be conducted within three to six months of the commencement of operations.
Audits may only be conducted by DFSV approved auditors who have been assessed by DFSV to have the qualifications and competencies required by the National Food Safety Audit Policy.
A DFSV-approved auditor will schedule an audit date and time with you. Most audits are coordinated by milk companies but some milk companies require their suppliers to arrange their own audits. If you supply a company that requires you to organise your own audits or if you do not have a supply arrangement with a processing company (i.e. you supply your own cheese making facility) then you can engage an auditor using the contact details from DFSV’s register of approved auditors.
As a guide, the audit process will generally include:
- an opening discussion to outline the audit plan
- a review of previous audit results
- an inspection of your dairy
- a review of your food safety program
- a review of evidence provided by you to demonstrate compliance with the food safety program (dairy diary, stock treatment records etc)
- an exit discussion to go over the audit findings.
Preparing for an audit
You can assist the audit to be conducted efficiently 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 to close out corrective action requests that are due to be closed during the audit is readily available.
The more readily available this information is for the auditor, the quicker the process.
The cost of dairy farmer audits may be incorporated into milk company supply arrangements.
Corrective action requests
If an auditor identifies non-compliance with a requirement of the food safety program they will issue a corrective action request (CAR). CARs are classified as minor, major or critical depending on the food safety or business 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 CAR close out.
It is your 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 it will be reported to DFSV immediately. DFSV will take enforcement action, as deemed appropriate, to protect public health.
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’s technical information note: Managing farm food safety risks provides a summary of food safety risks associated with milk production on dairy and guidance on managing the risks.
A range of regulatory and technical resources are also available on this site, including Guidelines for Food Safety: Dairy Farms, which provides a framework for the development of a dairy farm food safety program and outlines the minimum food safety outcomes that a dairy farm operator should be managing.
DFSV provides specialist support services to licensees, including regulations and standards interpretation and guidance, risk analysis, and technical and scientific advice.
Support services for farmers
A range of programs continue to be available to Victorian Dairy Farmers to support good planning and decision making. For more information visit the Dairy Farmer Central website.