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Dairy primary production

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Dairy primary production includes businesses involved in the production of milk or colostrum, whereby the product undergoes further processing for human consumption.

This includes:

  • keeping, grazing, feeding and milking of animals, and
  • storing milk product on the premises at which the animals were milked.

Licensing, registration

Operators in the dairy primary production industry are required to:

  1. apply for a Food Authority licence online or download an application form (PDF), print and post it
  2. prepare for regular audits.

You must not commence operations until you are informed that your licence application has been processed. If the premises are found to be operating without a licence, enforcement action may be taken.

Skills & knowledge

There are no formal qualifications required for dairy farmers, however each food handler and person in control of a food business is required to have food safety skills and knowledge appropriate to their food handling activities.

The full requirements are set out in the Food Standards Code, Standard 3.2.2 - Food Safety Practices and General Requirements, clause 3 and the FSANZ guide Safe Food Australia.

Construction & facilities

Construction and layout of a food premise must be designed to minimise the opportunity for food contamination.

Dairy primary production facilities must ensure that their fixtures, fittings, equipment and transport vehicles are designed and constructed in a manner that means they can be easily cleaned and, where necessary, sanitised.

Businesses must also ensure that the premises are provided with the necessary services of water, waste disposal, light, ventilation, cleaning and personal hygiene facilities, storage space and access to toilets.

The full requirements are set out in the Food Standards Code, Chapter 3, Standard 3.2.3 - Food Premises and Equipment and the FSANZ guide Safe Food Australia.

Hygiene & handling

A food handler must take all reasonable measures not to handle food or surfaces likely to come into contact with food in a way that is likely to compromise the safety and suitability of food.

For details see the Food Standards Code, Standard 3.2.2 - Food Safety Practices and General Requirements, clause 3 and the FSANZ guide Safe Food Australia.

Cleaning & sanitation

Dairy primary producers must implement a documented cleaning schedule that identifies:

  • all fixtures, fittings and equipment used in the processing of dairy products
  • the frequency of cleaning
  • how all fixtures, fittings and equipment are cleaned and sanitised
  • how food contact surfaces and utensils are sanitised (where applicable)
  • chemical usage eg. strength, contact times, temperature.

All fixtures, fittings and equipment must be adequate for the production of safe and suitable food, and fit for their intended use.

Routine internal cleaning and sanitation inspections must be undertaken, and records maintained for corrective action taken on any identified issues.

Cleaning chemicals must be suitable for contact with food and used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

Food safety controls

Dairy primary production businesses need to maintain a food safety program.

This is a tailored operating plan for the business which identifies hazards to food safety and how the business will manage them.

For a generic starting template see Food Safety Programs.


Product  labelling requirements apply, as set out in the Food Standards Code, Chapter 1, Part 1.2 - Labelling and other Information Requirements and the FSANZ labelling user guides.

For an introduction to product labelling and Food Authority factsheets see labelling.


The only testing required by dairy primary production businesses is for unpasteurised goats' milk that is being packaged at the business.

Testing requirements are outlined in the NSW Food Safety Schemes Manual.

Importantly, you should know that:

  • Microbiological testing is required to confirm that processing is hygienic and sanitary and meets the required standards
  • Testing must involve the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) or a laboratory approved by the Food Authority
  • Any analysis is at the licence holder’s expense
  • If a sample does not meet the standards set out in the Manual, the licence holder must notify the Food Authority within 24 hours by phone, and within 7 days in writing.

Inspections & audits

Dairy primary producers will be routinely inspected by the Food Authority for compliance with requirements.

Compliance or regulatory action will be taken if required.

There are fees for audits and inspections, payable by the licence holder.

For more see audits of licensed businesses

Legislation & standards

As an operator in the dairy primary production industry, you will need to meet the requirements set out in:

  1. Food Act 2003 (NSW)
  2. Food Regulation 2015 (NSW), including relevant parts of the Dairy Food Safety Scheme
  3. Food Standards Code, including:
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