Promoting the improvement of dairy quality and safety

in the interest of the dairy industry and the consumer

statutory projects

1. National Milk Monitoring

National monitoring of milk and other dairy products in collaboration with Health Authorities.


Project goal purpose

  • To ensure the objective screen sampling of milk and other dairy products in terms of R260/2015 under the Agricultural Product Standards Act, 1990 (Act 119 of 1990), R1555/1997 under The Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act, 1972 (Act 54 of 1972) and the relevant regulations in terms of the Trade Metrology Act, 1973 (Act 77 of 1973), in collaboration with municipal health authorities.
  • To process all test results of screening samples, in order to measure compliance with legal requirements.
  • To make test results available to DSA project management, relevant authorities as well as milk processors and distributors and respective retail companies.

The project is a partnership between the South African organised dairy industry, DSA and municipal health authorities. The work entails monitoring and evaluation of milk and other dairy products referred to in item 1, at retail level in a professional and scientific manner, to determine compliance with product composition, safety and metrology standards prescribed in terms of the acts listed in footnote.

The project activities are supported by sampling protocols that provide for product in packed or bulk form in the formal as well as informal retail sector.

In co-operation with metropolitan, district- and local municipal health authorities in nine provinces, an estimated five-hundred samples are taken quarterly for testing by independent laboratories.

The test results are conveyed to the relevant Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP’s) of the participating health authorities (each EHP is supplied with the test results of the samples taken in the area of his or her jurisdiction), regional offices of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (Inspection services) and the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS). The trend analysis based on the processed data obtained from milk analysis is used to determine food safety, product compositional and metrological compliance as well as food safety risks in terms of project goal 4 (1.4 Milk and other dairy product risk identification project goal). Selected data indicating serious food safety, product compositional and metrology non-conformances in terms of legal standards are further dealt with in terms of Project goal 6 (2.1 Communication with the authorities and other organisations).

Due to the limited shelf life of milk (other than UHT and sterilised milk) prohibition on the sale of non-conforming product requires prompt action in the retail. This implies that non-conforming products (identified by project goal 1) are followed-up effectively, to ensure appropriate action by the processors and/or distributors do occur. To this effect follow-up communication with processors/distributors and where applicable the retail are separately dealt with under Project goal 5, Remedial action programs with the processors, distributors and the retail.

A comprehensive DSA annual statistical report is compiled at the end of each year by the DSA reflecting on all the results obtained during the year. This report is communicated during the first quarter of the following year to:

  1. National Department of Health;
  2. Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries;
  3. National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications;
  4. Milk SA.

Planned activities and outputs 

Project Goal Objectives 

Performance Goals 

Quarterly sampling 

Plan and execute quarterly sampling runs with participating health authorities. 

National sampling 

Include all municipal and provincial health authorities responsible for food control in the sampling program/schedule in order to create a platform for the representative sampling of milk and other dairy products offered to the consumer. 

Standard operating procedures (SOP’s) 

Follow standard operating procedures and protocol in respect of sampling, handling and transportation of milk and other dairy products. 

Objective testing 

Ensure the objective testing of all milk (raw and heat treated) as well as other dairy products sampled in terms of the project goal scope in order to measure for compliance with legal requirements by using, where possible, SANAS accredited laboratories. 

Effective processing and statistical analysis of data 

Process all incoming data into the DSA database, using the DSA classification program. Compile trend analysis, analysing statistical data and conducting risk assessment. 

Confidential handling and communication of results 

Conveying test results to the relevant Environmental Health Practitioners of the participating health authorities, regional offices of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (Directorate: Inspection services) and the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) within seven (7) working days, to ensure appropriate corrective action in terms of legal compliance. 

Collection of information regarding processing facilities (contact details) which reflect non-conforming results 

Obtain data from DSA information system. 

Recording of data 

As per established DSA standard operating procedure. 

Follow-up actions and hand over to project goal manager/s for further actions when necessary 

As per established DSA standard operating procedure. 

Sample run action plan 

Projected dates of completion 

Sample run 68 

January – March 2019 (including cream varieties and butter) 

Sample run 69

April – June 2019 (including fermented products namely cultured milk, cultured buttermilk, maas and yoghurt) 

Sample run 70

July – September 2019 (including cheese varieties) 

Sample run 71 

October – December 2019 (including UHT, sterilised, evaporated and condensed milk) 

Yearly trend analysis 

January 2020 

1. The legal standards are determined by the following regulations issued in terms of the following acts:
    • Agricultural Product Standards Act 1990 (Act 119 of 1990), Regulation 260 of 27 March 2015;
    • Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act 1972 (Act 54 of 1972), Regulation 1555 of 21 November 1997;
    • Trade and Metrology Act, 1973 (Act 77 of 1973).


Industry Partners

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