Food Safety

Under proAction, Canadian dairy farmers follow specific processes and protocols to reduce risk and prevent food safety hazards on their farms. By following these procedures, farmers meet or exceed stringent safety standards as well as federal and provincial regulations.

proAction food safety requirements have been mandatory on farms since 2015 and are recognized by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for their rigour and strength. Requirements are reviewed and updated regularly.

Dairy farmers apply food safety management practices on farms using a science-based, preventative approach, based on the principles of the internationally known Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) system.

Download the Food Safety Fact Sheet

Establishing Standard Operating Procedures Around Food Safety

All dairy farmers are required to establish standard operating procedures (SOP) to enhance food safety on their farms. These SOPs include:

  • Milking procedures, which include requirements such as disinfecting teats before milking and discarding abnormal milk
  • Procedures for treating cattle
  • Procedures for transporting cattle

Minimizing the Risk of Accidental Contamination of Milk

Under proAction and other relevant regulations, farmers do the following to minimize risk:


  • All pesticides and commercial fertilizers must be labelled and kept away from animals and the milk house
  • Cleaning products must be stored properly and kept away from cattle and milking equipment
  • Water in the barn is tested by independent laboratories every year to ensure it is potable
  • Third-party professionals inspect milking and cooling equipment wash analyses on every farm each year
  • Farmers follow documented processes to consistently and safely milk cattle, usually two to three times a day
  • Farmers work hard to maintain clean and sanitary milking equipment
  • Farmers regularly train their workers to ensure that procedures are correctly followed and that emergency procedures are well-understood

Safeguarding Against Harmful Bacteria

To minimize the growth of harmful bacteria, all milk is stored between 1 and 4 degrees Celsius in stainless steel bulk tanks on farm. More than 70% of farms have a time temperature recorder that sends an alarm to farmers if the milk is not at its proper temperature.

Ensuring the Safe Use of Antibiotics

Dairy farmers take great care to ensure that antibiotics are used prudently and take proactive measures to protect the safety of the milk supply.


  • Farmers work closely with veterinarians and undergo an annual Cattle Health Declaration process with them.
  • Antibiotics are administered only by trained professionals.
  • Prescriptions are documented on-farm in permanent records.
  • Medicine for cows is administered according to the label or as prescribed by veterinarians.
  • All treatments are recorded to respect milk withdrawal times and animals that are sold are kept on the farm until the meat withdrawal times are respected.
  • Treated cows are visually identified so their milk is discarded until deemed safe.
  • Antibiotics are kept at their proper storage temperature and conditions.
  • In addition, ALL milk is tested for antibiotics before being processed.

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