Artisan and Farmstead

Dairy products produced on farm, by artisans, and by small companies continue to drive rapid growth with unique cheese, yogurt and ice cream products sold at retail, restaurants or farmers markets around the country. To help these processors and assure the dairy industry continues to provide safe and nutritional products, the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy has developed resources for artisan and farmstead producers which make important food safety information more accessible.

Artisan Food Safety Resource Hubs

There are numerous food safety resources available to Artisan and Farmstead dairy manufacturers, but they are dispersed across various locations. The Innovation Center for U.S Dairy, American Cheese Society, International Dairy Foods Association and National Ice Cream Retailers Association have compiled some of the most relevant resources into the Safe Cheesemaking Hub and Safe Ice Cream Hub. These tools include lists and links to workshops, training, guidance documents, reference books, reference articles, Spanish-language tools, videos, cheese guilds and state-by-state food-safety resources.

For a single comprehensive document on Dairy food safety programs see the Guidance Document for the Control of Pathogens in Dairy Products.

NEW! Resources for Growing Your Cheese Business Safely

Guidance document in English and Spanish for cheesemakers producing specialty, Artisan or fresh style cheeses (Queso Fresco, Panela, Ricotta, Paneer, etc.). It is designed for smaller producers and highlights the basics of food safety for owners, managers and employees with links to free supplementary resources and videos to help train employees.

Online Food Safety Basics for Artisan Cheesemakers Course

The Innovation Center for US Dairy has created an online food safety course for cheesemakers tailored to those working at small farmstead and artisan cheese facilities. This course has been developed by academics and cheesemaking experts in partnership with ACS.


The course is available through North Carolina State University and is introduction to controlling food safety hazards through GMPs, sanitation, good design, and environmental monitoring. As an on-demand, self-paced, self-study resource, it was designed to help cheesemakers of all experience levels by providing important information in an easy-to-use format which is accessible at the user’s convenience. The full course consists of five sections:

  1. Importance of Food Safety
  2. Regulations and Standards
  3. Food Safety Hazards
  4. Good Manufacturing Practices and Process Controls
  5. Environmental Pathogen Monitoring and Testing

Online Food Safety Basics for Small/Medium Ice Cream Manufacturers

The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy has created an online food safety course for small ice cream manufacturers. Whether you produce for your own scoop shops, sell into local retailers, or run factories this class will help you with your practices and aid in refining your food safety programs. The course was developed by a team of experts from ice cream processors of all sizes and a team of University/extension experts in partnership with NICRA.


It is available through North Carolina State University and includes 10 interactive modules:

  • Lesson 1: Importance of Food Safety
  • Lesson 2: Food Safety Hazards
  • Lesson 3: Overview of Food Safety Control Strategies
  • Lesson 4: Good Manufacturing Practices
  • Lesson 5: Allergen Controls
  • Lesson 6: Cleaning and Sanitation
  • Lesson 7: Supply Chain Controls
  • Lesson 8: Process Controls
  • Lesson 9: Environmental Pathogen
  • Lesson 10: Road Map to Your Food Safety System

In-Person Artisan Food Safety Support

There are probably many resources available to help you with food safety through your local university or extension program. If you aren’t sure where to start you can:

US Interactive map for USDairy Resources

Artisan Dairy Coaching Workshops – Food Safety Plan

These small coaching sessions/workshops are for companies that are creating or updating their “preventive controls” based food safety plan as required by FSMA and many buyers.  These sessions provide a review of key topics and hands-on coaching to guide attendees through the FS plan writing process for their facility. PCQI certified trainers will be present to review topics, answer questions, and share templates to facilitate your plan development.


NEW! Guidance for Managing Ice Cream Inclusions

Inclusions in ice cream including flavors, ingredients, nuts, dough, chocolate, and variegates need special care and handling to ensure safety. Addressing these needs through effective food safety programs is an important way to protect your customers and minimize the risk of a product recall. This basic reference is intended to be used when developing your food safety program as it pertains to adding anything to your ice cream base with information on 1) biological (pathogens) 2) chemical (allergens), and 3) physical hazards (pits, rocks, plastic, glass, or any other foreign material.

Inclusion Handling Guide

Supplier Controls Food Safety Resource Guide & Templates

This Supply Chain Controls Food Safety Resource was developed to provide templates and scenarios to help small to medium size companies assess their risks and implement a supply chain food safety plan.  It includes templates and guidance on ingredient/supply controls, labeling and claims.

NEW! Dairy Brine Food Safety Best Practices
Dairy Brine Food Safety Best Practice Cover

Because brine systems come in direct contact with product, it is important to make sure they don’t become a food safety issue. The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy worked with experts with extensive brine cheese experience to identify food safety best practices. This guidance document focuses on these elements of brine management, with an emphasis on microbiological controls.

Artisan Dairy Producer Food Safety Initiative Resources

Jim Mueller and Larry Bell of the Artisan Dairy Producer Food Safety Initiative (ADPFSI) have created two guidance documents to help cheesemakers reduce pathogen risks.

ADPFSI Guidance for Raw Milk Cheesemakers
While pasteurization is the best way to reduce pathogens from milk used for cheese making, we recognize that some producers prefer to use raw milk: Food Safety Systems Guide to Raw Milk Cheese Production.

Brine Management Standard Operating Procedure
SOP Template for Cheese Brine Creation, Storage and Maintenance

Retail Consortium

The Innovation Center for US Dairy partners with retailers in supporting food safety through educational/training programs. For more information on the Retailer Food Safey Consortium:

Regulatory Information

There are local, state, and federal regulations that artisan and farmstead manufacturers must adhere to including registering your facility, having a food safety plan, and following the CFR, GMP, and other rules.   There is a great resource site which is applicable to all types of dairy products at

Contact Us

Can't find what you are looking for or have a question on a specific topic or issue involving food safety? Drop us an e-mail.

The information provided on this website and in the related materials/links is for informational purposes only, and may not be used as a substitute for legal advice regarding food safety laws in any jurisdiction. The federal government restricts how raw milk may be used in cheese, and some state and local laws restrict the sale of raw milk or use of raw milk in dairy products. Training materials and presentations are based on compliance with federal laws. The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, makes no representation or warranty with respect to the completeness, accuracy, reliability, or suitability of any information provided in the website content, links or materials. We recommend that users of this site consult an attorney concerning the laws applicable to any particular situation. By using this site and the materials/links provided, the users agree to release the Innovation Center for U. S. Dairy from any and all liability that may result from your use of the information provided in the materials.