8 November 1996

Chemical usage and the rules…

When it comes to keeping the dairy clean, stick with well- known and proven.

Detergents remove soil from surfaces, but have no significant bactericidal properties. Disinfect-ants kill bacteria on an already cleaned surface. A third category, loosely defined as sanitisers, combine both effects.

Detergents are not, and never have been, covered by legislation. Disinfectants were once covered by the Milk and Dairies Regulations, but no longer are. Sanitisers, likewise, are not controlled, although they formerly were, thanks to the disinfectant properties that brought them within the scope of the old rules.

Teat dips and other medications fall into yet another category, covered by regulations controlling veterinary medicines.

Regulations cut

The former Milk and Dairies General Regulations (1959) required any chemicals used for disinfection to be approved by MAFF. They were unique because milk was the only sector of the food industry where such approvals were required. A MAFF technical panel commented on applications for approval.

With the implementation in May 1995 of the Dairy Products (Hygiene) Regulations (based on EU Hygiene Directive 92/46), the approvals system disappeared, accelerated by MAFFs contribution to the governments campaign to cut red tape.