Receiving & Dispatching milk & milk products

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The company must have a documented approved supplier program in place that includes:

  • The criteria for approval and the ongoing checks conducted to ensure companies meet supply conditions.
  • For dairy specific ingredients there must be systems in place that ensure that the goods are only sourced from an export registered dairy establishment. This includes storage establishments.
  • Approved suppliers must be able to demonstrate that they manufacture goods in accordance with the Food Standards Code.

Are there documented systems in place to control the supply of raw milk/cream (including temperature and for the EU, TPC, BMCC (somatic cells) and mandatory notification of any antibiotics detected). The documented program must include:

  • The raw milk/cream is supplied from an approved farm/supplier.
  • Notification of on farm non-compliance is included in the company’s corrective action program, i.e., that they are being monitored and closed out.
  • If applicable, total plate count and somatic cells should be appropriately managed as per EU requirements.
  • Temperature controls are defined and where hot milk is received, corrective action to what happens next needs to be detailed. Where the establishment seeks to accept hot milk, a validated process to manage the temperature variation must be clear (for example, using the milk cooling curve/envelopes).
  • Controls on antibiotics including notification of failed detections is described

If imported ingredients are used in the manufacture of milk and milk products, this must be covered in procedures.

Are there documented procedures in place for the receival of dairy ingredients (including raw milk/cream where applicable) that includes:

  • Milk ingredients which are made in, or are a product of Australia, must be sourced from an export registered establishment (excludes raw milk/cream coming from farm).
  • Transfer declarations received for these Australian milk ingredients (excluding raw milk/cream coming from farm).
  • Detail what are the minimum details required on a received transfer document.
  • Detail what are the relevant information for imported milk ingredients such as C of A’s, quarantine import clearance, etc.
  • For ingredients that require temperature controls, checks are in place to verify that temperatures at receival have been maintained.
  • The cleanliness of the transportation vehicle is checked.
  • Antibiotic checks are defined and described in detail.
  • Corrective actions identified including for when goods are delivered outside set requirements (e.g. temperature limits, lack of paperwork such as no transfer declarations accompanying deliveries, unhygienic transportation vehicle, failed antibiotic testing, outside of approved supplier program).
  • Receival records defined.
  • Where milk and milk products are received and not for use in milk and milk products for export, what is in place to ensure they are suitably identified.

For the relevant legislative references in the Export Control (Milk and Milk Products) Rules 2021, please refer to the department’s, Approved Arrangement Checklist.

Thorough procedures for receiving raw materials and other goods are essential for ensuring that checks are made regarding issues such as food condition, packaging integrity and suitable temperature during transport. If, for example, received pepper (to be added to cheese) was damp indicating potential water contamination, it may cause it to become unfit for human consumption. If received vitamin (to be added to infant formula) was received with broken packaging, it may cause it to become unfit for human consumption. You must also inspect the condition and cleanliness of any vehicles or containers used to transport materials or finished products to and from your site to confirm that they are fit-for-purpose and do not pose a contamination risk to products. You need to maintain records of these inspections.

To ensure traceability, it’s important to check that the received and dispatched product is identifiable and able to be recalled if necessary. Received products must be sourced from an approved supplier. There should be a check that the label on the product matches the documentation provided by the supplier and a record is made of this. Your procedures need to describe how checks at receival and dispatch are performed and recorded, and you must maintain records of all checks done. The same should apply to bulk milk receival and your staff must conduct necessary checks and be confident that the milk product received is of good quality.

While unloading product, care should be taken to protect the product, and temperature sensitive product should be handled in a timely manner. The procedure should indicate timeframes for handling temperature sensitive product and corrective action should be detailed if the timeframe isn’t met. There should be validation documents available for these time/temperature parameters..

During a review of your procedures, where possible, you should examine the receiving and dispatch process in action.

You should check that the site procedure captures elements such as:

  • Suitability of the receival area to receive/load/unload/stage the products including suitability of temperature and other environmental factors?
  • Are checks conducted for suitability of packaging, to ensure products are in good condition at receival and dispatch?
  • Checks conducted for suitability of transport vehicles used at receival and dispatch?
  • Temperature checks conducted and recorded for product and/or transport vehicle including containers?
  • Product and pallet labelling matches documentation provided?
  • For dairy ingredients used in the manufacture of exported products, it is clear what type of documentation is required at receival such as Certificate of Analysis (C of A’s), Product information sheets (PIFs), specification documents, Declaration documents and Transfer certificates etc? Are requirements captured in site procedure? How are these checked on receival and who is responsible for this?
  • Where applicable, relevant quality tests are performed at receival prior to product acceptance including antibiotic testing, protein testing, sensory tests, temperature tests, chemical testing, etc. and documented in the procedure?
  • Information on label should ensure that their identity can be maintained, suggested information might be:
    • Description of ingredient
    • Approved supplier name (on site’s approved supplier list)
    • Net weight
    • Country of origin
    • Identity of lot (e.g. batch code or use by number)
    • Directions for use (if any),
    • Where applicable, transfer documentation and transport seal IDs
  • Are records kept for all checks conducted?
  • Are staff kept fully informed about procedures? The procedure should include how staff are kept up to date, for example, labelling requirements and having access to an up to date approved supplier list.
  • Is there a process and instructions for corrective actions?
  • Are staff knowledgeable about the corrective action process for different scenarios? The procedure should include where to store “quarantined/not for use” product, how to label it, who should be informed and how it is disposed of. It should also include what to do if product is waiting to be loaded but is out of refrigeration for longer than the procedure allows.

You should check that your store person assesses products at receival and dispatch. You would want to ensure these are recorded. You may wish to investigate what actions may be taken if product doesn’t meet requirements e.g. the packaging is not protecting the ingredient. This should be covered in the procedure.

Your store person should be trained and competent to identify product tampering or attempts at product tampering during product receival. Such evidence can include:

  • Damages on pallets
  • Re-boxing/re-palletising
  • Missing shrink wrap
  • Missing label information
  • Missing adhesive tapes on cartons,
  • Changed pallet orientations
  • Different pallet type used
  • The use of specialised and unique adhesives different to what’s normally used
  • Different size carton used
  • Shrink wraps which contain a different colour to the norm
  • Change in patterns and/or brand logo

All relevant staff should be trained in the dispatch and receiving procedures. The procedures should be updated if needed and staff should be re-trained as needed. Corrective action, when requirements are not met, should be clear and should be recorded.

Your site must have sufficient controls in place to ensure non-export products or ingredients are not accidentally used in the manufacture of export eligible products or dispatched as export eligible product.

Dairy products destined for export must have a full export trade description with completed checks to be compliant with the Commonwealth Export legislation, as well as your importing country requirement.

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Self Assessment

How much do you know about Receiving & Dispatching milk & milk products?

Take this short assessment to find out.

Question 1

Manuel is working in the goods receival store and is responsible for the approval and receival of ingredients and packaging used in exported products. He receives four pallets of an ingredient used in export dairy products and upon inspection, notices only three of the four pallets have labels on them with matching paperwork. The remaining pallet doesn’t have a label and he was not provided with any documentation. The delivery driver is confident the pallet contains the same raw materials as the other three pallets and is meant to be delivered to Manuel’s store. The driver further insists Manuel accept the delivery and the unlabelled pallet be taken off his truck.

As the store person responsible for receiving ingredients and packaging material on site, what action should Manuel take to ensure the manufactured products on site remain eligible for export?

(Choose the correct answer);

Question 2

Khamal is working in the refrigerated raw materials store and is responsible for inspection and acceptance of cheese products which is further processed onsite prior to export. He receives a delivery of cheese and upon inspecting the product, he notices the cheese is not cold. 
Khamal uses a calibrated infra-red temperature monitoring device to check the product exterior temperature and the reading shows the product is at 12°C. 
He looked at the delivery truck thermostat which shows the truck at 8°C. 
The Cheese Receival Procedure says that all incoming cheese must be received at a temperature between 5°C and 0°C.  

What actions should Khamal take to ensure food safety compliance with the site exported products?

(Choose the correct answer);

Question 3

Zaid is the forklift driver responsible for loading refrigerated dairy goods prior to dispatch to their customer. His next consignment is to an export registered establishment, and he is about to load several pallets of cheese into a refrigerated food transport vehicle.

Upon inspecting the transport vehicle, Zaid notices a half open pallet in the far corner of the vehicle under the refrigeration unit.

The truck driver explains the pallet contains empty tins of paint and some half-used containers meant to be dropped off on the way to the other export registered establishment.

Zaid notices that there is also a faint smell of paint emanating from the vehicle.

What actions should Zaid take to ensure the dispatched dairy products are safe for human consumption, and retain their export eligibility?

(Choose the correct answer);