December 12, 2020 at 5:46 p.m.

How does your farm measure up during inspection?

Wolf presents top 10 violation list during UMDIA meeting

    Keeping a dairy in good working condition is of the utmost importance for all farmers in order to keep their permit to sell milk.
    “We all want the same results,” Brandon Wolf said. “We want good inspections. We want passing IMS survey ratings. We want good FDA check ratings because they help keep the milk supply moving. It helps at the farm, through processing and back to the shelf.”
    Wolf, a dairy II inspector and interstate milk shipment officer for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, presented, “The Top 10 Most Common Milk Inspection Debits” during the virtual Upper Midwest Dairy Industry Association annual meeting Dec. 2.
    “Complying with the PMO (pasteurized milk ordinance) regulations helps us ensure the safety of the milk and milk products we have,” Wolf said.
    To create this top 10 list, Wolf and the other 14 state inspectors and three IMS officers collected data from the past couple years based on what they see throughout their inspections and farm surveys. The list is based on which categories they saw the most infractions.
    The first category is utensils and equipment. Examples of violations include poor welds on a pipeline or homemade welding fixes that are not stainless steel, deteriorated or cracked gaskets, cracked inflations, cracked milker hoses, damage to the receiver jar level probe or sensor, or exposed threads on equipment.
    “In this category, we see areas that aren’t compliant with the materials for easily cleanable surfaces due to surfaces wearing out over time,” Wolf said.
    The second category of violations is in water supply. Examples of these include a backflow prevention valve vent turned up instead of down, the use of a pressure relief valve instead of a backflow prevention valve, an improper installation of a valve, a missing valve on a pressure washer, backflow devices that do not work, water lines submerged in sinks, loose well caps, loose electrical lines and draining around the well.
    The third category is the milkhouse. Wolf and other inspectors have seen many hose ports not in compliance by being rusted, not sealed tight or damaged. A 4-by-4-foot section of concrete should be around the outside of the hose port and in good condition. Another infraction is having the door between the milkhouse and the parlor (or milking area) open.
    “It’s important to try to keep everything in the milkhouse and keep it clean to try to prevent other things from getting in like flies and other insects,” Wolf said.
    The fourth category is milkhouse wall and ceiling construction. Cracked windows are not in compliance.
    “With our harsh winters, we see windows that crack sometimes or as you’re mowing lawn from a rock hitting it,” Wolf said. “It’s important to get it sealed to restrict flies and other insects in the milkhouse, and occasionally we see cats try to get in too.”
    Other areas of violation are gaps between the wall and the bulk tank, wall board that has started to warp over time and open windows or screens.
    The fifth category is milkhouse cleanliness.
    “This is a very key item because it’s the area where our milk is stored,” Wolf said.
    Throughout routine inspections, Wolf and other inspectors have seen many areas that do not meet the standards in this category: receiver jars with milk, dust or other residue; or layers of mud on the floor.
    “We understand there are times of the year where that stuff migrates into the milkhouse, but keeping this area clean and sprayed down is very important,” Wolf said.
    Other areas to keep clean are the tops of bulk tanks, walls, ceilings and floors. Other items such as dog and cat food bowls along with calf milk pasteurizers should be stored in other areas of the farm.
    “Try to keep additional items out of there,” Wolf said. “It helps keep up the overall cleanliness of your milkhouse.”
    The sixth category is surroundings and feed storage. Wolf said an example of an infraction in this area is a chemical storage room or an employee lounge that is not clean.
    “Try to keep them neat and tidy to try to prevent areas for mice and other rodents,” Wolf said.
    Weeds must also be kept in check around the hose port and other areas of the milkhouse. The entrance to the milkhouse must also be clear and clean.
    The seventh category is milkhouse floor construction. Missing, chipped or broken tiles must be repaired or replaced. And if the concrete below chemical barrels or along drains has eroded or washed away, it must also be fixed in order to be in compliance.
    The eighth category is barn wall and ceiling construction. Wall boards must be secure and not coming loose along with ceiling tin pieces. If walls are in need of attention, it must be whitewashed or given a fresh coat of paint.
    The ninth category is barn cleanliness. Violations in this category Wolf and other inspectors have seen include layers of dust on the pipeline, thick cobwebs, dirty walls and calves tied in front of cows in mangers of stanchion barns.
    “As we know, animals defecate, and we don’t want to mix that with feed,” Wolf said.
    The 10th category is utensils and equipment cleanliness. Wolf sees buildup of residue inside the pipeline and around the cover of the inside of the receiver jar along with milk residue in the bulk tank.
    Wolf added a bonus 11th category – utensils and equipment storage.
    “This one is pretty broad,” he said.
    Buckets in the milkhouse need to be washed and stored upside down instead of on the floor, and the pipeline should be properly sloped. An open filter box or a door that is broken will also lead to violations in this category.


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