The Dairy Inspection Program is a regulatory program designed to ensure that milk and other dairy products are safe for consumption.  Dairy inspectors perform inspections of the facilities and equipment involved in producing, collecting, and processing milk; including dairy farms, milk tanker trucks, and dairy processing plants. Inspections are performed regularly according to state and federal requirements. Refer to the Dairy Inspection Responsibilities chart – sidebar – for more information. Without dairy inspection, farmers, dairy plants, and cooperatives would not be able to sell Grade A milk across state lines.

Dairy Cows in pasture

Dairy Inspection Responsibilities

In Minnesota, milk and other dairy products are produced under either the Grade A program or the Manufacturing grade program.  Dairy inspectors conduct inspections to ensure facilities meet state and federal requirements under each applicable program.

Grade A Milk

Fluid milk and other dairy products produced according to Grade A program requirements may be shipped and sold interstate. The Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO) sets the federal standards for the Grade A milk program.  Minnesota has adopted the PMO as its standards for Grade A milk.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the federal agency in charge of overseeing Grade A milk under the PMO.  The National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments (NCIMS), an organization made up of state dairy regulators, meets every two years to discuss and vote on changes to the PMO. The FDA must approve the changes before they become part of the PMO.

Manufacturing Grade Milk

Standards for manufacturing grade milk, also known as Grade B, are established and overseen by the United States Department of Agriculture on the federal level and are found in the USDA’s Milk for Manufacturing Purposes and its Production and Processing. Minnesota has adopted these standards for manufacturing grade milk