Cleanup, cleanup! Everybody, everywhere! Make sure all surfaces are painted, shiny, and clean! Put away whatever clutter that may have accumulated! Make sure both cows and equipment are as clean as a whistle! We’ve all been there. Countless hours are spent between milking and chores to make sure the farm looks just right for the next visit from the Federal Milk Inspector.
For those who are unfamiliar with the annual agenda of a dairy farm, this will be entirely new! In order for dairy producers to be able to sell their healthy and nutrient-rich product, they need to pass an annual inspection from the Federal Inspector from the Department of Health and Human Services. The inspector takes time going through a detailed checklist around the farm, including the condition of the cows, the milk barn, and the milk house. If any of these are not up to the pre-determined standards, the inspector makes a check mark on the list. Once the inspection is completed, the check marks are tallied up. The amount of check marks determines the “grade” for that inspection visit. If the overall score failed inspection standards, farms are given two weeks to fix the infractions listed before a redo inspection.
For some producers this can be a sore topic. Some think inspectors are too critical, or uptight, and unfair. However, an Inspection isn’t an event to be feared or dreaded. Just as farmers work every day, so do the inspectors. A Federal Inspection should be used as a valuable tool. Dairy producers want consumers to drink and eat nutritious dairy products, and an Inspection is one way of proving that producers do everything necessary to yield a safe product. Isn’t it better to have an inspector come in and say that you need to make some changes, versus not receiving any warning and have a dairy facility shut down for a minor infraction?
Here is a brief list of Milk Inspection Do’s & Don’ts-
- Present yourself as clean as possible
- Have a good attitude
- Be respectful
- Be organized and prepared
- Make corrections and follow suggestions
- Be honest
- Messy/cluttered milk house
- Cracked milk house floor
- Doors improperly sealed
- Fresh cow bucket stored on floor
- Improperly stored medicines and treatment products
- Dirty cows and facilities
By following these few guidelines, and along with advice from your Inspector, inspection no longer needs to be a dreaded chore. This way we can assure consumers that producers take producing a safe and nutritious product seriously.