HACCP and the Dairy Industry: An Overview of International and U.S. Experiences

Brian W. Gould, Marianne Smukowski, and J. Russell Bishop1

In 1997, 155.2 billion pounds of raw milk was produced in the U.S. resulting in 1.1 billion pounds of butter, 7.3 billion pounds of cheese, 1.4 billion pounds of dry milk and 1.3 billion gallons of ice cream manufactured. With less than 5% of reported foodborne diseases originating from contaminated dairy products, the U.S. dairy industry has an excellent record when considering the amount of dairy products consumed. In-spite of the industry's excellent record, disease causing bacteria have appeared in dairy-based finished products. Problems associated with the presence of Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella enteritidis, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and others have been documented. The products affected have included cheese, ice cream, nonfat dry milk (NFDM), raw and pasteurized milk. Besides microbiological, potential physical hazards include metal, glass, insects, dirt, wood, plastic and personal effects. Chemical hazards include natural toxins, metals, drug residues, food additives and inadvertent chemicals.

In this paper provide an overview of the application of HACCP to the U.S. dairy industry with some brief comments about other country's experiences. With the importance of raw farm milk in determining product quality, there are a number of countries that are also proposing "cow-to-consumer" systems. We provide a brief overview of the on-farm HACCP components of these programs.

We provide brief comments with respect to on-farm HACCP systems in the Netherlands and in Australia. In our discussion of U.S. applications we provide an example of a generic HACCP model designed to control mastitis infections. As with any HACCP system we point to the importance of having a program of good managment practices being present to complement the HACCP program.

We outline the voluntary Canadian and mandatory Australian dairy processing HACCP programs. We provide a detailed overview of the International Dairy Food Association's Dairy Product Safety System. We present generic HACCP models for two dairy products: cheddar cheese and ice cream. Again the importance of having effective prerequisite programs are noted. In an application of the cheddar cheese HACCP model to a large cheese plant, annual validation and verification is estimated to require 600-720 person hours at a cost in the range of $14,000-$18,000. Initial planning and implementation was estimated required 800 man-hours at a cost of slightly less than $20,000.

The dairy industry learned a very valuable lesson from the seafood and meat industries and has taken the initiative to develop their own HACCP/Dairy Product Safety system. This system provides adequate safety control of products and is functional in a practical application. The IDFA program has been officially endorsed by the FDA, and is widely used by the dairy manufacturing industry. If the dairy industry continues to fully implement HACCP at a fairly rapid pace, there will be no need for mandatory HACCP from federal and state agencies. As with most food industry applications of HACCP, an important means of controlling potential hazards in dairy product manufacturing is the use of raw ingredients and materials that are hazard free. If these raw ingredients are hazard free this implies that the only hazards that need to be controlled by a CCP are those that arise within the dairy operation itself (FDA 1997, 16). The importance of raw milk in the manufacturing process points to the necessity of having some type of HACCP-based system implemented at the farm level. If adoption of HACCP by the manufacturers/processors and producers does not continue to increase, HACCP will become a mandatory regulatory tool.

1B.W. Gould is Senior Scientist, Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research and Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics. M. Smukowski is Safety Outreach Specialist with the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research and J. Russell Bishop is Director, Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research and Professor in the Department of Food Science. All are located at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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