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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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Milk Safety Program

...Go back to State Cooperative Programs Webpage

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The FDA's Cooperative Milk Safety Program aims to provide assistance to the states in the prevention of communicable diseases and in the implementation and enforcement of their milk regulations, and to advise states on matters relating to the preservation and improvement of public health as it relates to the production and distribution of fluid milk and milk products for human consumption. 

Questions regarding the Milk Safety Program and how DFSR can assist you?  Contact Linda Collins. 

FDA's Role in the Milk Safety Program

Under this program FDA has several responsibilities, including:

  • Promoting the adoption, implementation and enforcement of regulatory standards as provided in the model Grade A Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO)
  • Standardization/certification of personnel
  • Quarterly publication of compliance and enforcement ratings
  • Training
  • Conducting check-ratings and single-service audits for sanitation compliance of listed shippers
  • Issuing interpretations
  • The evaluation and approval of milk laboratories
  • The biennial evaluation of state milk control programs


Milk InspectionFDA Milk Safety Program & the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments

The FDA State Cooperative Milk Safety Program was established under a MOU, signed in 1977, between the FDA Commissioner and the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments (NCIMS). This MOU delineates both FDA's and the States' responsibilities as listed in the "Procedures Governing the Cooperative State-Public Health Service/Food and Drug Administration Program for Certification of Interstate Milk Shippers" and the various documents referenced in it. 


Southwest Region Dairy Safety Partnership Program 

Oversight has been provided for Grade "A" dairy products through the National Conference of Interstate Milk Shippers (NCIMS) for more than fifty years. NCIMS is a partnership between the FDA and state and territorial agricultural and health departments that provide and ensure the sanitary quality of milk and milk products shipped interstate. The result has been the establishment of a viable and effective certification and enforcement program which has been of significant benefit to consumers. The FDA/NCIMS program does not cover non-Grade A or non-IMS products in Grade A/NCIMS facilities (ice cream mix, some cottage cheeses, fruit drinks, juices, etc.). Neither does the FDA/NCIMS program cover non-Grade A or non-IMS processing facilities (butter, cheeses, ice cream, filled milk, manufactured dairy powders, frozen desserts, etc.). For this reason, Southwest Region (SWR) Milk Specialists (RMSs) submitted a proposal in 1994 to the Regional Food and Drug Director (RFDD) for the development of "Partnerships" with regional states to share oversight of all regulated dairy manufacturing firms. The proposal was accepted, and the State Cooperative Program Team (SCPT) developed and implemented a long-term partnership agreement between FDA and the Arkansas Department of Health, the Colorado Department of Public Health, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, the Kansas State Department of Agriculture, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, the Missouri Milk Board, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, the New Mexico Department of Agriculture, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, the Texas Department of Health, the Utah Department of Agriculture and the Wyoming Department of Agriculture. 
The Partnership Agreement proposal focused on the following goals:
  • Provide for the safety and wholesomeness of dairy and food products to the consumer.
  • Provide a specialized FDA presence that had not previously been available in regulated firms.
  • Provide oversight, training, and direction that had not previously been available to state regulatory inspection programs.
  • Capture data for state inspections, sampling, regulatory actions, and state resources for the FDA FACTS Data System that had not previously been available. 
  • Fulfill the agency full time employee (FTEs) responsibilities to inspect, sample, and provide compliance oversight to these regulated industries. 
These Partnership Agreements have successfully demonstrated that the state can assume full responsibility for inspection of the states' dairy manufacturing industry when FDA provides the training needed to maintain the technical skills of state and local regulatory personnel. The partnership has also eliminated duplication of effort and greatly enhanced overall communication and cooperation between these State agencies and FDA. 


Milk Safety Program Policy, Guidance and other Resources:

***CFSAN's Milk Safety Webpage***: This webpage (maintained by CFSAN) contains numerous critical resources for the Milk Safety Program, including: 

Training Resources:

 Other Resources:

...Go back to State Cooperative Programs Webpage