Read about managing milk quality and the impacts of milk quality on milk pricing and dairy farm profitability.
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.
Quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs) are a group of chemicals widely used as biocides and disinfectants in the home, industry and in food manufacture. Products containing QACs are used to clean and sanitise the milking machine and/or vat on some dairy farms. Benzalkonium Chloride (BAC) is the specific type of QAC of most interest, and is present in a number of products registered for use on dairy farms.
Some international customers have placed strict requirements on the level of BAC residues they are prepared to accept in the products they import. Consequently, some milk companies are requiring their suppliers to change the way they currently use QAC-based dairy sanitisers to ensure these high value markets remain open to them.
QACs are used to kill (sanitise) bacteria in the milking machine and vat. They are found in a number of products registered for use on dairy farms. Look for the following compounds listed as one of the active constituents on the front panel of the product label - BENZALKONIUM CHLORIDE, QUATERNARY AMMONIUM COMPOUND or N-ALKYL DIMETHYL BENZYL AMMONIUM CHLORIDE.
An indicative list of products registered with the APVMA is available here.
Changes to automated wash controllers should be done in association with the company supplying the controller. Your dairy chemical adviser should be able to assist with these changes too.
What alternatives do I have to change my current cleaning practices to minimise QAC residues?
There are 3 main options to minimise the risk of QAC residues: rinse the sanitiser out after use, use hot water in place of a sanitiser, or change the type of chemical you use to sanitise the milking machine and/or vat. The most appropriate option will depend on your farm situation and on your milk company's requirements, which may vary. A decision tree has been created to help you work through the various options in association with your milk company or dairy detergent adviser.
QAC-based sanitisers only need a few minutes to do their work, so can be rinsed from the plant immediately after their use, or preferably immediately prior to the next milking. Use warm or cold water at the same volume as used for the sanitising rinse. Good quality water is needed to avoid re-introducing bacteria into the milking machine or vat. Ensure the equipment is well drained so minimal water is collected with the next milk.
Water needs to be at or above pasteurization temperature at every point in the pipework for at least 20 seconds to effectively sanitise the pipework. This means that the hot water temperature in the wash barrel should be at 90-93oC as it enters the milking plant. Use the same volume as used for the other detergent and sanitising cycles. Hot water is unsuitable for sanitizing vats.
There are many registered dairy sanitiser products available that do not contain QACs. Alternative chemicals may not suit your water quality so the decision to change over needs to be taken together with your dairy chemical adviser. Note that some alternative chemicals also need to be rinsed out after use (to avoid other residue issues) but there are some acid-based sanitisers that have been approved by the APVMA to be left in the plant to drain.
The total cost of cleaning and sanitising the milking machine and vat each day are largely determined by the costs of heating water (power costs) and the cost of the chemical. Although a drum of an alternative chemical may cost more than a drum of QAC-based chemical, in many circumstances the total costs (power+chemical) of using an alternative chemical will be similar or less than either rinsing out the QAC-based sanitiser or using hot water to sanitise the plant instead.
If the decision is made to stop using QAC-based sanitisers, leftover chemical should not be returned to the place of purchase, stored or disposed of on farm. Existing product should be used according to the current wash program, ensuring it is thoroughly rinsed from the plant after use. This may mean some delay before the new cleaning program can be implemented.
Note that this list is indicative only. There may be other dairy cleanser products containing QACs that are no longer registered as they are being phased out, or products that contain QACs as an ingredient, but not an active constituent. For more information talk to your dairy detergent adviser.
|APVMA No||Company name||Product Name||Actives|
|52522||ADVANCE CHEMICALS||ADVANCE WERTHEIM TWIN CLEAN LOW FOAMING ACID DETERGENT SANITISER||BENZALKONIUM CHLORIDE / PHOSPHORIC ACID / SULFAMIC ACID / SULFURIC ACID|
|52566||AGVANTAGE PTY LTD / CATTLEKARE||EXCEL ACID PLUS ACID MILKSTONE REMOVER||PHOSPHORIC ACID / QUATERNARY AMMONIUM COMPOUND|
|30030||DASCO||KLEER X LIQUID ACID DETERGENT||PHOSPHORIC ACID / QUATERNARY AMMONIUM COMPOUND|
|53876||DASCO||MULTI-TEMP ACID DAIRY DETERGENT SANITIZER||BENZALKONIUM CHLORIDE / PHOSPHORIC ACID / SULFAMIC ACID / SULFURIC ACID|
|60692||DELAVAL||DELAVAL ACIDET ACID MILKING MACHINE AND BULK MILK TANK DETERGENT SANITISER||GLYCOLIC ACID / PHOSPHORIC ACID / QUATERNARY AMMONIUM COMPOUND|
|65106||ECOLAB||DAIRY POWER ALKASAN ALKALINE DAIRY DETERGENT & SANITISER||GLYCOLIC ACID / PHOSPHORIC ACID / QUATERNARY AMMONIUM COMPOUND|
|51288||ECOLAB||DAIRY POWER FLEXI-TEMP ACID DAIRY DETERGENT & SANITISER||BENZALKONIUM CHLORIDE / GLYCOLIC ACID / ORTHO PHOSPHORIC ACID|
|49188||ECOLAB||DAIRY POWER HYSAN ALKALINE DAIRY DETERGENT & SANITISER||BENZALKONIUM CHLORIDE / SODIUM CARBONATE / SODIUM TRIPOLYPHOSPHATE|
|45901||ECOLAB||KLENZ-ALLTEMP ACID DETERGENT SANITISER||BENZALKONIUM CHLORIDE / PHOSPHORIC ACID / SULFAMIC ACID / SULFURIC ACID|
|52986||MILESTONE CHEMICALS||MILESTONE DAIRY CLEANING SYSTEMS DAIRY PROOF||ALKALINE SALTS / QUATERNARY AMMONIUM COMPOUND|
|51152||RUAKURA||SANIKLENZ LOW FOAMING ACID DETERGENT SANITIZER||BENZALKONIUM CHLORIDE / PHOSPHORIC ACID / SULFURIC ACID|
|45318||TASMAN CHEMICALS||TANK AID PLUS BULK TANK CLEANER ACID SANITISER||BENZALKONIUM CHLORIDE / PHOSPHORIC ACID|
|55486||TASMAN CHEMICALS||THERMOFLUSH MULTI ACID DAIRY DETERGENT SANITISER||GLYCOLIC ACID / PHOSPHORIC ACID / QUATERNARY AMMONIUM CHLORIDE|
|30205||TRENT VALLEY / QUALCHEM||DIA-SAN DAIRY SANITISER||N-ALKYL DIMETHYL BENZYL AMMONIUM CHLORIDE|
|30000||TRENT VALLEY / QUALCHEM||DUPLEX MULTI-PURPOSE ACID DAIRY DETERGENT SANITISER||BENZALKONIUM CHLORIDE / SULFAMIC ACID|