Complying with hygiene regulations on dairy farms

All farmers must comply with certain rules and regulations which govern the production of safe food. These regulations have their origins in European legislation and are designed to ensure consumers are protected by requiring food producers adhere to them.

Role and responsibility

Within the UK, the Food Standards Agency is known as the Central Competent Authority for implementing the Food Hygiene Regulations.  This involves making farmers aware of their legal responsibilities, providing guidance on complying with the regulations and also implementing a system of official controls such as inspections, audits and testing.

In Northern Ireland, DAERA Agri-food Inspection Branch (AfIB) carries out this work on behalf of the Food Standards Agency. Within AfIB, the Milk Inspectorate team carries out inspections and provides guidance on legislation relating to milk production. They are also responsible for the enforcement of legislation on milk production holdings and in plants producing liquid milk products in Northern Ireland.

As a dairy farmer and a food producer it is important to keep in mind that the hygiene regulations are there to protect consumers, not to inconvenience producers.  It is also worth remembering that the responsibility for meeting the legal requirements rests with the food business operator (the farmer or processor - at each appropriate stage).

Hygiene regulations

At the beginning of 2006 a package of new consolidated EU food hygiene regulations came into force.

These regulations set out the responsibilities of food business operators (including farmers of all types), the standards for premises, plant and product (which are required) and the control systems to be applied to ensure compliance with this legislation.

The Food Hygiene Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006 provide for the execution and enforcement in Northern Ireland of the above Community regulations.

As a dairy farmer it is important that you are familiar with the legislation (links above) and understand clearly what you are required to do in order to comply with it.

Guidance documents for milk production

The following links provide a range of guidance documents available in relation to milk production.

'Milk Hygiene on the Dairy Farm’ is an easy to understand booklet which will help you as a food business operator, to meet the standards of hygiene required in the legislation. Each section clearly identifies the specific requirements of the Regulations and also provides advice on good practice.

A range of leaflets designed to help with specific requirements are also available for download. These documents are also available by contacting:

Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs
Agri-food Inspection Branch
Room 1018
Dundonald House
Upper Newtownards Road
Belfast BT4 3SB

Tel: 028 9052 5001

Registration for Milk Production

EU Hygiene legislation requires all food businesses to be either approved or registered. In the case of dairy farms registration is required before milk can be offered for sale.

Before starting work on erecting new milk production buildings or making changes to existing registered buildings or equipment, the approval of DAERA AFIB must be obtained. Contact details for AfIB milk inspectors are available below.

In cases were milk production on a registered production holding has permanently ceased, please print form R065, complete and return to the address detailed below.

Compliance and Enforcement Strategy - Hygiene Regulations

AfIB Milk Inspectorate implements EU legislation relating to food safety by assessing compliance (inspections, investigations and testing of samples) in dairy production and processing establishments ; providing guidance to assist Food Business Operators (FBO's) in meeting the standards required and taking appropriate enforcement action where necessary.

Our enforcement procedures have been drawn up to take account of the principles and strategic aims of the:

  • DAERA Enforcement Policy and the
  • FSA Compliance & Enforcement Strategy

We aim to take the most appropriate enforcement action propionate to the particular set of circumstances and adopt a consistent approach in similar situations. Unless there is evidence of a serious offence, a graduated educative approach is adopted.

For further information please contact the Head of Milk Inspectorate, Fintan McCann.

AFIB contacts - Milk Inspectorate

Head of Milk Inspectorate

Fintan McCann
Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs
Agri-food Inspection Branch
Room 1030
Dundonald House
Upper Newtownards Road
Belfast BT4 3SB

Tel: 028 9052 4686


Milk Inspectors

Mrs Shirley Fulton
Sperrin House
Sedan Avenue
Omagh BT79 7AQ
Tel: 028 8225 3471 


Mrs Julie Glass
Atek Building
Edenaveys Industrial Estate
Newry Road
Armagh BT60 1NF
Tel: 028 3752 9073

Mr Kenneth White
Room 1018
Dundonald House
Upper Newtownards Road
Belfast BT4 3SB


Mr Niall Bell
Kilpatrick House
38-54 High Street
Ballymena BT43 6DP
Tel: 028 2566 2887 


Mr Cecil Allen
Glenree House
Unit 2 Springhill Road
Newry BT35 6EF
Tel: 028 3025 5910 


Mr Eamon O'Harte
Inishkeen House
Killyhelvin Industrial Estate
Enniskillen BT74 4EJ
Tel: 028 6634 3100 

E-mail: eamon.o'


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