CQ dairy farmers join call for milk ‘national standard’
Dairy farmers from across Central Queensland have joined calls for uniform standards in testing and sampling of fresh milk to ensure product quality and payment efficiency.
Currently there is no national standard for fresh milk testing and sampling across Australia, with farmers group Dairy Connect and Central Burnett chair Aaron Clews calling for implementation of a standardised code in the Mandatory Dairy Code of Conduct.
Dairy Connect chief executive officer Shaughn Morgan said Dairy Connect in 2019 made a submission to then Federal Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie in relation to the then draft Dairy Mandatory Code of Conduct.
“We submitted that the draft dairy code should contain a clause regarding the implementation and compliance with the introduction of national standards for milk sampling, testing and calibration of testing equipment,” he said.
“This would ensure consistency with respect to the testing and sampling of milk and the fat and protein content required.
“The results provided to dairy farmers would ensure consistency by all transport carriers and processors who received the fresh nutritious milk from their dairy farmer supplier.
“Dairy farmers rely on testing as it provides the basis for the payment of any bonus or penalties in relation to the fat/protein content, which directly impacts on the farm gate price that the dairy farmer receives.”
Australian Dairy Products Federation executive director Janine Waller said it was essential that credible and robust food safety and quality systems operated in the dairy industry.
“Industry has initiated a number of measures to promote national consistency for standard milk safety compliance and testing protocols, such as the newly accredited Milk Tanker Operator Training Program and an industry fact sheet on milk quality testing.”
Dairy Connect Farmers Group president Graham Forbes said that if the Federal Government didn’t wish to do this, state governments should implement a standardised code with their oversight.
“In NSW for instance, such standards could be implemented either through the Department of Primary Industries or the NSW Food Authority,” he said.
“Prior to deregulation in 2000, NSW Government oversight was provided by the state dairy authorities, which included the NSW Milk Marketing Board, the Dairy Industry Authority and the NSW Dairy Corporation.
“If one state, such as NSW, implemented common regulatory standards, these could be enacted in other states or in a manner similar to the Competition Law through the Federal Government.
Alternatively, Dairy Connect called on the Federal Government to implement common oversight via amendments to the Mandatory Dairy Code of Conduct.
The regulation that underpins the dairy code could be quickly and simply amended to include relevant clauses ensuring compulsory standards.
In the event of a breach of this clause within the code, any offending party would be subject to appropriate penalties.