Science & Research

Food Safety: 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.

Online Food Safety Basics for Artisan Cheesemakers Course

The Innovation Center for US Dairy, as part of the Artisan Dairy 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


As an introduction, this $140 course is available FREE of charge until 12/31/2017, use the promotion code INTRO-FREE when registering!

Artisan Dairy Producer Food Safety Initiative 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. Jim Mueller and Larry Bell of the Artisan Dairy producer Food Safety Initiative have created a suggested guide to help cheesemakers reduce pathogen risks.

Artisans Dairy Producers Food Safety Initiative (ADPFSI) Guidance for Raw Milk Cheesemakers “Food Safety Systems Guide to Raw Milk Cheese Production”

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 and the American Cheese Society have compiled some of the most relevant resources into the Artisan Food Safety Resource Directory and at the Safe Cheesemaking Hub. The directory (excel file format) and Safe Cheesemaking Hub website includes 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


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 Resource 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.


Northeast East Southeast NorthCentralSouth Northwest WestSouthwest

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


Click a region on the left to view more information.

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

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

West, Southwest Regions

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

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

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.