Dairy manufacturers

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 manufacturer licences are issued with the following conditions.

The licence holder must:

a. comply with all relevant provisions of the Food Act 1984 (Vic) and the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code in the conduct of the dairy business and the processing, handling, packaging storage or transportation of dairy food

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. Audits must be conducted at intervals no greater than seven months. Where the licence holder is notified in writing by Dairy Food Safety Victoria of the requirement to undertake additional audits, the licence holder must ensure that these audits are conducted as specified in the written notice

c. immediately notify Dairy Food Safety Victoria in writing of any changes pertaining to the ownership of the business or to the products manufactured by the business, or processes used to manufacture the products

d. 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

e. upon receiving a request in writing, comply with any product sampling request made by an authorised officer within the stated time frames

f. 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.

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 Trade Ready 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.


Dairy Export Assurance Program

The Dairy Export Assurance Program is an exciting opportunity for the Government, state regulatory agencies and industry to co–design a more robust and inclusive regulatory framework for the dairy export industry. The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment is partnering with Dairy Australia to deliver three projects within the Dairy Exports Assurance Program.

DEAP is sponsored by The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet through the Deregulation taskforce. This funding is the first major investment into the export sector for over a decade and provides a once in a generation opportunity to refresh and modernise the regulation of dairy exports.

The projects are:

  1. Identifying the regulatory hurdles for domestic dairy manufacturers to become an approved establishment.
  2. Food safety in commercial assurance programs.
  3. Working towards reduced regulatory intervention through improved data.

DEAP are also offering a free export facilitator service to provide tailored assistance to dairy manufacturers looking to become export registered. The service is also available to assist dairy manufacturers that are already export registered and are now looking for new opportunities. For more information you can follow this link.

Work on the Dairy Export Assurance Program has begun, the department will be working with stakeholders to ensure that the modernising of the export system remains fit for purpose into the future. The department will provide progress updates to industry throughout the project. To learn more about DEAP and follow our progress please register for updates on the projects Have Your Say page.

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 their licence who is responsible for monitoring food safety compliance. 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.



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

Non-compliance may be identified through inspections, audits, test result notifications, complaint investigations or incidents of of foodborne illness.

DFSV will take action proportionate to the seriousness of the legislative non-compliance identified and the food safety 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.

Scheduled audit (per hour)$267.55 + 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
Per hour$267.55 + GST

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)  $267.55 + 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. 

The Compendium of Microbiological Criteria for Food was developed by state regulators in conjunction with FSANZ.  It is a nationally consistent reference on microbiological criteria for foods and supports the microbiological standards in the Food Standards Code (Standard 1.6.1).

The Dairy Chapter of the Compendium of Microbiological Criteria for Food includes guidance on sampling plans and acceptable limits for pathogens and indicator organisms for verifying food safety controls in dairy products. It also outlines corrective actions that may be appropriate where product does not meet the microbiological criteria.  These include notifying the regulator (DFSV), investigating and following up the root cause, and clearance programs where appropriate.

Licensees’ food safety programs are expected to include details of testing programs and associated actions.

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.



DFSV licensees are encouraged to notify DFSV when circumstances arise during primary production or processing of dairy food that may compromise the acceptability of product for consumption, or otherwise present a potential food safety risk or failure to meet regulatory requirements. Examples of such situations (but not exclusively) are:


  • Product that is not, or may not be, compliant with standards in the Australia New Zealand Food Standard Code (the Code).
  • Product that is not, or may not be, compliant with the requirements for food to be safe and suitable as per the Food Act 1984 (the Food Act).
  • Production that is not, or may not be, conformant with the licensee’s approved food safety program (including any importing country requirements).
  • Products subject to in-process failures of critical controls or other manufacturing specifications.
  • Other unforeseen circumstances that may arise with the potential to impact food safety or ability to meet regulatory obligations.

Such incidents should be notified using  Form - DFSV Notification Advice Form


  • The presence of antibiotics in raw milk

Use Form - Antibiotic Notification Form


  • Milk that does not comply with maximum levels of contaminants and natural toxicants (ML), maximum residue limits (MRL) or extraneous residue limits (ERL) specified in the Australia New Zealand Food Standard Code (the Code)
  • Milk that is not, or may not be, conformant with the licensee’s approved food safety program to meet importing country requirements

Use Form - DFSV Notification Advice Form - Farm Incident


Completed forms should be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


  • This process allows for DFSV to assist your business to assess the situation and determine an appropriate course of action to ensure food safety outcomes, suitability for market and compliance with legislative requirements.
  • Many licensees’ food safety programs state that DFSV will be notified of certain events. This form provides a means of submitting this information to DFSV and ensures that all required information is provided.
  • Licensees are expected to assess the impact of the situation on the food safety or acceptability of the product or raw milk (in the case of an on-farm incident) and propose appropriate remediation and/or product disposition arrangements. Impacted product must be appropriately identified and controlled pending DFSVs evaluation of the business’ proposal.

If you are unsure whether you need to notify DFSV of an event, please contact your Food Safety Manager or DFSV on (03) 9810 5900 or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.