Science & Research

Food Safety

Dairy’s Focus on Food Safety

The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy® (IC), provides a forum for the dairy industry to work together pre-competitively. Collectively, the IC represents over 500 dairy manufacturers and over 80 percent of the U.S. milk supply. One important IC initiative is the Food Safety Team, which helps assure dairy products are safe by providing resources and training in all facets of dairy manufacturing.

Dairy Plant Food Safety

Focused on pathogen-control guidelines and principles, the goal of the Innovation Center’s Food Safety Committee is to develop and encourage industry adoption of a uniform approach to in-plant pathogen control programs. By offering several Dairy Plant Food Safety Workshops each year and providing tools and templates, industry members can gain food safety fundamentals and receive hands-on experience on techniques and standard operating procedures to help dairy plants meet stringent regulations.

Workshop Registration

Supply Chain

The IC Food Safety Team has developed science-based tools to assess your supplies and suppliers in support of FSMA Hazard Analysis, Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food and Foreign Supplier Verification Program Regulations.  Workshops and tools are designed to help companies identify, quantify, and mitigate risks from their supply chain.

Artisan and Farmstead

Artisan and farmstead cheese continues to grow rapidly with unique cheese products that are sold at retail, restaurants, or farmers markets around the country.

To assure the dairy industry continues to provide safe and nutritional food products, the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy has developed resources for artisan and farmstead cheesemakers making important food safety information more accessible.

Control of Listeria in Dairy Products

Control of Listeria monocytogenes Guidance for the U.S. Dairy Industry was prepared for the dairy industry by the dairy industry, leveraging industry subject matter experts.  It is intended to build knowledge and communicate best practices for a wide spectrum of food safety practitioners: hourly employees, engineers, quality professionals, senior staff, contractors, suppliers and more.  The guidance follows a simple graphic to share knowledge and help establish effective pathogen controls in a dairy manufacturing facility.   The guidance was revised June 14, 2017.

Listeria Research Consortium

The Innovation Center for U.S. dairy (IC) provides a forum for the dairy industry to work together pre-competitively. In 2015 the IC initiated an industry funded Listeria Research Consortium in order to advance science with the ultimate goal of protecting consumers and developing new tools for use in dairy plants and products.

Spanish Language Tools

The Innovation Center for U.S. dairy (IC) Food Safety team provides tools and guidance for the Dairy Industry. Some of these key tools are now available in Spanish to help communicate food safety best practices to a broader audience. The documents available in Spanish are the Control of Listeria monocytogenes Guidance for the U.S. Dairy Industry, Dairy Equipment Design Checklist, Dairy Facility Checklist, and an example of a Sanitation Standard Operating Procedure (SSOP)


The Innovation Center, established under the leadership of America’s dairy producers through the dairy checkoff program, made improving traceability a priority in its 2009 Globalization Report because it is an important factor in dairy trade. Now more than 80% of the U.S. milk supply is covered by these voluntary dairy traceability guidelines, thanks to the pledge of 26 dairy processors.

Dairy Traceability Guidance

Dairy Traceability Checklist

This Guidance Document and checklist contains information and guidance needed to implement traceability standards at your company. It will guide you through a process of comparing your current practices to a set of minimum standards for traceability, and identifying any areas that may need improvement. Some of the areas detailed include:

  • Record keeping
  • Data collection—Lot Numbers, ingredient information
  • Efficacy of traceability protocol for verification on content of final product
  • Testing and validation of traceability in mock recall
The Traceability Guidance is part of the U.S. Dairy Stewardship Commitment , a voluntary pledge through which the U.S. dairy community can document and demonstrate its progress to consumers, customers and other stakeholders. Companies that adopt the U.S. Dairy Stewardship Commitment meet defined criteria for important areas like animal care, the environment,  food safety & traceability and other important initiatives to report on impact in a transparent and meaningful way.