Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page


Dairy farmers are in the business of producing food. They aim to ensure that the safety and quality of their raw milk will satisfy the highest expectations of the food industry and consumers. On-farm practices should also ensure that milk is produced by healthy animals under acceptable conditions for the animals and in balance with the local environment.

The overarching principles applying to the production, processing and handling of all milk and milk products are:

All dairy farmers, suppliers to dairy farmers, milk carriers and hauliers, dairy product and food manufacturers, distributors and retailers should be part of an integrated food safety and quality assurance management system. Good farming practices underpin the marketing of safe, quality-assured milk-based products.

The role of dairy farmers is to ensure that good agricultural, hygienic and animal husbandry practices are employed at the farm level. The focus should be on preventing a problem (including animal diseases) rather than solving it after it has occurred.

Good dairy farming practices should contribute to ensuring milk and milk products are safe and suitable for their intended use.

Note: A contaminant as referred to in this guide is “any biological or chemical agent, foreign matter, or other substance, not intentionally added to food, that may compromise food safety or suitability”.

About this guide

Many dairy companies/cooperatives and countries are introducing on-farm quality assurance programmes aimed at assuring their consumers about the safety of their dairy products. This guide attempts to provide a generic framework for individual on-farm quality assurance programmes, focusing on both consumer safety and the image of the dairy sector.

The objective of the document is to provide a farmer-orientated guide to practices that are achievable all over the world covering those areas that are essential to manage.

The approach taken in this guide is to:

The focus is on the desired outcomes, rather than on specific, prescriptive actions/processes. The guide does not have any legal status and does not supersede national requirements.

Guiding objective for good dairy farming practice

The guiding objective for good dairy farming practice is that milk should be produced on-farm from healthy animals under generally accepted conditions. To achieve this, dairy farmers need to apply GAP in the following areas:

For some of these areas, there are control points that must be managed to achieve defined outcomes. The guide contains guidelines specific to the five areas listed above but is not meant as a substitute for national legislation.

GAP also means that dairy farmers should ensure that appropriate records are kept, especially those that enable adequate traceability of:

Records should also be kept of:

- milk storage temperatures (when available)
- veterinary or medication treatments of individual animals.

The owner of a dairy farm should also ensure that people undertaking and supervising the milking operations and management of the dairy farm are skilled in:

Appropriate measures are also needed to maintain these skills through ongoing training.

How are the guidelines presented?

The Guidelines are presented in two forms:

In developing individual, company or country-specific guidelines for good dairy farming practices (or on-farm quality assurance programmes), reference should be made to:

In developing these Guidelines, reference was made to a number of on-farm quality assurance programmes that are currently being implemented in a number of countries.

Previous Page Top of Page Next Page