Be Aware of Possible Inspection Problems

Dr. Allen Young
USU Extension Dairy Specialist

I was recently asked by a dairy farmer to contact the Utah State Department of Agriculture regarding a debit on a recent inspection. The result of that interview was informative and enlightening to me. I hope by passing on the results of that conversation, it will help you also.

In the course of the conversation I asked what were some of the bigger inspection problems that were being seen. I have listed four that were identified:

Problem 1: Milking Cows with Abnormal Milk

In the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO), there is a section dealing with milking cows with abnormal milk, in our context, those with mastitis. In the PMO, you are given two choices. Either milk such animals last or in their own pen, the preferred method, or if they are not separated from the other cows, milk them with completely separate equipment �which effectively prevents the contamination of the wholesome supply.� Regarding the latter, this does NOT mean you can use a bucket with the same claw assembly and hoses to milk sick cows. If you do, milking is supposed to be suspended and the whole system cleaned before using it on the next animal. This is a 5 point debit on the inspection sheet.

Problem 2: Water Supplies

Safe water supplies in the barn have to be plumbed so that improper backflow of unsafe or questionable water is prevented. Problems are usually seen around booster pumps. They should be indirectly plumbed or set up so they shut off when the water pressure drops below a certain point.

Problem 3: Improper Hand-washing facilities

The PMO says that convenient hand-washing facilities shall be provided, including hot and cold and/or warm running water, soap, and individual sanitary towels or other approved hand-drying devices. Hand-washing facilities shall be kept in a clean condition and in good repair. The operative words here seems to be: convenient to the milking operation and hot and cold water (with adequate pressure). The milk hauler is supposed to use this before collecting a milk sample. The milkers are also supposed to wash their hands before milking.

Problem 4: Use of Toilets

The PMO says that a toilet or privy shall be located convenient to the milking barn and the milkroom and there is no evidence of human defecation or urination about the premises. I am told this is a problem on many dairies where toilet paper is not flushed down the toilet, but is put into an adjacent bucket or on the floor. This seems to revolve around cultural differences. If you have this problem on your dairy, you need to have a discussion with your employees.

As you can see, the problems seen on a dairy are varied, but knowing what the problem is can become the first step in correcting it. If you have questions about any of these areas, please contact your milk inspector. ©