Dairy cleaning practices

Many dairy farmers have moved from hot water sanitising to chemical sanitising in recent years, especially in Gippsland and West Vic, where approx 50% of farmers now use a chemical sanitiser at least once a day, according to a study funded by Dairy Australia.

If not managed carefully, this can pose a risk to market access. Farmers need to be aware that unless chemical sanitisers are rinsed thoroughly from the plant before the next milking, traces of the chemical can be left on the pipework.

Although all of the chemical sanitisers being used in dairies have been evaluated for safety, this does not stop international customers and regulators putting their own requirements on the products that they wish to purchase.

For example, some markets are very sensitive to residues of quaternary ammonium compounds / benzalkonium chloride, contained in some dairy sanitisers.

This means some dairy companies are working with their farmer suppliers minimise the risk of residues in their milk supply. Depending on the milk company, some farmers may be asked to review their dairy cleaning practices.

  • Frequently asked questions about QACs
    Dairy Australia has put together some frequently asked questions about QACs on farms and a decision tree to help affected farmers to look at their practices, in consultation with their dairy chemical or milk company advisor.
  • House-keeping tips - Milking machine and vat hygiene
    In addition, a few simple house-keeping measures that could potentially eliminate trade risks and so protect our higher value markets.