Dairy hygiene inspection

Information for dairy farmers about inspections the Food Standards Agency carries out on cows, their housing, milking operations, hygiene management and records.

Who gets inspected

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) inspects all dairy farms.

What gets inspected

FSA’s routine inspections include:

  • animals and their housing
  • milking operations, equipment, cleaning methods, washrooms, milk storage and collection
  • hygiene management
  • the dairy diary
  • veterinary medicines records (use and purchase)
  • first purchaser milk quality test results and monthly milk statements
  • confirmation of Red Tractor assurance certification

If the inspection finds problems, the herd health plan and the milking plant test results may be inspected.

FSA can inspect you if they get a complaint about farm conditions from a purchaser or other third party. This inspection will happen within 3 working days of the complaint.

Time and length

Your farm is usually inspected once every 10 years. FSA will inspect once every 2 years if you’re considered a higher risk site, for example:

  • you’ve broken any dairy hygiene rules
  • you sell raw milk, that is non-pasteurised

Inspections take about 1.5 hours. You will not get advance notice of an inspection.

What happens next

FSA assigns your farm to one of 4 compliance levels:

  • 1 - actively compliant
  • 2 - broadly compliant
  • 3 - weak compliance
  • 4 - poor compliance

Any follow-up action depends on the nature of your offence and your farm’s compliance history.

You can show you’ve met minor non-compliances like paperwork errors by email or post.

If you have a more significant compliance issue, like a structural or hygiene problem, then you’ll normally get a follow-up inspection.

You must agree a timescale with the FSA to correct any problems.

Published 12 January 2016