Promoting the improvement of dairy quality and safety

in the interest of the dairy industry and the consumer

non statutory projects2

17. DSA Laboratory Services

The project purpose is to:
  • Establish and maintain an industry independent national laboratory service for the supply of standardised imported and national reference standards to the dairy industry, private and other laboratories for the calibration of high frequency measuring equipment used in the determination of fat, protein, lactose, milk urea nitrogen and somatic cell counts.
  • To conduct analytical functions that include microbiological and compositional testing of samples as well metrological compliance determination of dairy samples (where applicable).

The project is a result of the lack of national standardised standards with appropriate metrological values for the calibration of laboratory instruments during the determination of fat, lactose, protein, milk urea, nitrogen and somatic cell counts of milk, which subsequently create technical barriers and add to legal disputes which is not in the interest of the South African organised dairy industry.

Following liaison with stakeholders in the dairy industry, the need for the establishment of an independent sustainable infrastructure to supply imported and national standardised standards used for the calibration of laboratory equipment by the local dairy industry was raised. During an industry meeting held on 19 September 2017, it was unanimously agreed by industry members that such infrastructure should be established under the auspices of Milk SA and Dairy Standard Agency.

The project includes representative collection of raw milk samples on national level following which standards are prepared and the values for fat, protein, lactose are determined in-house. All national standards are to be prepared by the DSA laboratory and subsequently submitted to three individual external laboratories using similar specific SANAS accredited analytical methods for verification purposes. Imported standards are to be used for the determination of milk urea nitrogen and somatic cell counts.

All reference values of standards determined nationally and those imported for the purpose of calibration of measuring equipment will form part of a national proficiency testing scheme to ensure reference value integrity.

In conjunction with the above the services the supply of standards for other dairy products as well as screen tests (product composition, microbiological testing as well as metrological measurement) as part of the DSA national monitoring programme relating to milk and other dairy products and cost effective services in the interest of the dairy industry are also to be rendered.

Planned activities and outputs

Project Objective

Performance Goal

October 2018 to February 2019

Structural changes to facility layout and equipment of the laboratory;
Establishment of laboratory procedures and manuals;
Marketing of DSA laboratory services;
Establish service level agreements with individual dairy companies and private laboratories for supply of standards.

March 2019 to December 2019

Comprehensive service rendering relating to supply of standards to industry as well as conducting in-house screen test on behalf of DSA statutory national milk and other dairy product monitoring programme.
Expansion of analytical scope e.g. homogenisation index of milk to the industry.

Quarterly and annual report to DSA Board and Milk SA



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