Artisan and Farmstead

Artisan and farmstead dairy products continue to grow rapidly with unique cheese, yogurt, and ice cream products sold at retail, restaurants, or farmers markets around the country.

To 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.

A Cheese and an Ice Cream

Online Food Safety Basics for Artisan Cheesemakers Course

The Innovation Center for US Dairy, as part of Artisan Safety Advisory Group, has created an online safe cheesemaking certificate course tailored to those working at small farmstead and artisan cheese facilities. This course has been developed by, and is now available through, North Carolina State University.

The course is intended to be an introduction to controlling food safety hazards through GMPs, sanitation, good design, and environmental monitoring. As an on-demand, self-paced, self-study resource, the Artisan Dairy Safety Advisory Group hopes it will 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, along with a Small Ice Cream Advisory Group, 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 a factory this class will help you with your practices and aid in refining your food safety programs.  The course was developed by and 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 Monitoring and Testing
  • Lesson 10: Road Map to Your Food Safety System


This course is available free through July 31, 2020, use the discount code INTRO-FREE when registering.

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"

Artisan Dairy Coaching Workshops – Food Safety Plan

This coaching workshop is intended for Artisanal Cheese and Diary Food Producers who are preparing to create, or are already developing, a SMA compliant, preventive control (PC)-based, food safety plan for their facility. The goal of the workshop is to provide Food Safety Plan review and coaching sessions that guide attendees through each step in the development process. PCQI lead trainers will be present to review topics and answer questions and templates will be provided to facilitate plan development.

Note: This course is NOT intended to provide PCQI certification.

Who Should Attend: Artisan cheese and dairy food producers


Artisan Food Safety Resource Directory

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 launguage tools, videos, cheese guilds and state-by-state food safety resources. Please provide suggested additions and/or comments about the Artisan Food Safety Resource Directory here.

Artisan Food Safety Resource Directory

Safe Cheesemaking Hub

Safe Ice Cream Hub

Guidance Document for the Control of Listeria in Dairy Products

ACS Best Practices Guide for Cheesemakers

If you have suggested additions and/or comments about the Artisan Food Safety Resources Directory please share here.

Regional Artisan Food Safety support

There are multiple universities that support food safety training for artisan and farmstead cheesemakers. Training includes educational classes, short courses and assistance with implementation of food safety processes and protocols. Below are regions, universities, contacts, and training websites that cheesemakers can contact or visit for additional food safety support.

Resources by Region (Some resources may consider to provide support beyond core region)

Northwest Region

Washington State University
Attn: Karen Killinger
Phone: (509)335-2970

Idaho State University
Attn: Jeff Kronenberg
Phone: 208-364-4937

Oregon State University
Attn: Liz Goddick
Phone: 541-737-8322

West, Southwest Regions

California State Polytechnic University
Attn: Phil Tong
Phone: 805-756-6101

Utah State University
Attn: Carl Brothersen
Phone: 435-797-3483

North, Central, South Regions

University of Wisconsin—Center for Dairy Research
Attn: Marianne Smukowski
Phone: 608-265-6346

University of Minnesota
Attn: Tonya Schoenfuss
Phone: 612-624-3090

Michigan State University
Attn: John Partridge
Phone: 517-355-7713

Northeast Region

Cornell University
Attn: Rob Raylea
Phone: 607-255-7643

University of Vermont
Attn: Catherine Donnelly
Phone: 802-656-5495

University of Connecticut
Attn: Dennis D’Amico
Phone: 860-486-0567

East Region

Pennsylvania University
Attn: Kerry Kaylegian
Phone: 814-867-1379

Southeast Region

North Carolina State University
Attn: Gary Cartwright
Phone: 919-513-2488

Retail Consortium

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

Regulatory Organizations/Information

Stay current with changing food safety requirements
There are both state and federal regulations that artisan and farmstead cheese manufacturers must adhere to. It is recommended that prior to manufacturing, the artisan and farmstead producer have a very good understanding, adhere to, and keep current with changing food safety requirements. As stated in this website disclaimer, 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 following are links to several websites that can provide useful information but does not represent the entire regulatory requirements that must be followed.

Regarding state regulations, it is recommended that the artisan and farmstead operator contact local State Agricultures to determine specific rules and regulations for the state where farm is located.

Understand federal regulations The FDA is responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation's food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation. The FDA has federal authority of artisan and farmstead cheese processing. Below are specific topics and FDA website links that impact the artisan and farmstead operations.

Code of Federal Regulations

Food Modernization Act that applies to farmstead and artisan cheesemaking

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 and we will respond within 48 business hours with a response.

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.