If you are a dairy farmer, sharemilker, dairy farm manager, farm dairy operator, this page can help you understand and meet your legal requirements.
The information here is also intended to be relevant to farm dairy assessors, MPI-recognised farm dairy RMP evaluators and verifiers, and other people and organisations who have an interest in supporting dairy farmers in the production and harvesting of milk.
Definition – dairy farm operator
A farm dairy operator is a person, company or organisation responsible for some or all activities at a farm dairy. In some cases this may be one person and in others cases multiple people or organisations.
Meeting the requirements
Farm dairy owners and operators have legal obligations and duties under:
- the Animal Products Act (APA) 1999
- Animal Products (Dairy) Regulations 2005.
Agreements with RMP-registered dairy companies
In most cases the dairy company you supply milk to is registered as the farm dairy RMP operator. To ensure you meet minimum food safety requirements they issue the following:
- a milk supplier's handbook
- a milk supply contract or terms and conditions of supply that describe what you must do in order to meet minimum food safety requirements.
In order to facilitate trade, companies may set out additional requirements to satisfy:
- the requirements of specific countries they are exporting to
- other legal and commercial obligations
Harvesting milk for multiple activities
Your RMP for milk harvesting activities must cover all intended used of the milk you harvest. That is, if you supply some of the milk to a manufacturing company, such as Fonterra or Westland, and you retain some to manufacture products, such as cheese, on your own farm, you need to cover this activity in your own RMP. The RMP owned and managed by the manufacturing company may not be sufficient to meet all your regulatory requirements. If you are unsure whether you need your own RMP, contact MPI for clarification using the email contact in the panel at the right.
Design and operation of farm dairies
If you produce raw milk, including colostrum, that is intended for further processing, you need to comply with a Code of Practice (COP) for the design and operation of your dairy. The industry COP sets out requirements specifically aimed at farm dairy operators as well as anyone involved in the design and construction of farms dairies, supply and maintenance of equipment or supporting activities at the farm dairy.
Using chemicals in the farm dairy
Chemicals used in the farm dairy, including detergents and sanitisers, must be approved by MPI. These are sometimes known as maintenance compounds. The label should state that the chemical has been approved by either MAF, NZFSA or MPI for use in farm dairies. Alternatively, you can refer to the full register of approved dairy maintenance compounds.
If milk is contaminated
If you are concerned that milk in your bulk milk tank may be contaminated in any way, then you must:
- advise your dairy company immediately
- remove the milk from the vat as soon as possible.
Milk in the bulk milk tank is assumed to be safe, suitable and available for collection unless steps have been taken to disable collection – for example, if there is a lock on the vat and clear signage near the vat outlet that the milk is not for collection.
MPI testing for contamination
In addition to the routine testing of tankers and individual farm milk supplies by dairy companies, MPI also operates a national programme that monitors chemical residues and contaminants in milk on farms. This programme screens for over 300 compounds and any detection of chemicals above acceptable limits has serious consequences for both the individual supplier and the company processing the milk.
To find more information click on Monitoring & testing, in the left-hand menu, then NCCP.
Harvesting milk for raw milk products
In addition to the general requirements for farm dairies, MPI have set out additional requirements that must be taken into account if you intend to supply raw milk for raw milk products.
Raw milk products RMP and COP
Your RMP must address additional measures so it covers raw milk for the manufacture of raw milk products. You can find the requirements in the following Notice.
A Code of Practice (COP) can help you meet the requirements of the Notice. An RMP or RMP amendment that follows the provisions in the COP can expect to move through evaluation and registration unimpeded.
Food safety risks in raw milk
If you are a processor interested in raw milk products, this report provides background information about the potential hazards from pathogens in raw milk produced in New Zealand.
There is more information about manufacturing raw milk products in the manufacturing section. Click on Manufacturing dairy in the left-hand menu and look under Manufacturing specific products for Manufacturing raw milk products.
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