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Dairy Processor Licensing Discussion Topics
Filled milk jugs from a licensed dairy processor

If you are interested in becoming a new dairy processor in the state of Ohio, the two topics below will help you in the path to becoming a licensed dairy processor. 

Pre-Licensing Consultation Topics for Discussion

Below are items that all new processors need to consider before obtaining a Dairy Processor License from the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

  1. ​Building and equipment plans (preparation and submittal)
  2. Products to be processed
  3. Application and submittal process (including categories to be applied for)
  4. Other licenses that may be needed from the Ohio Department of Agriculture.  These could include a Milk Hauler License, Weigher, Sampler and Tester License, Milk Producer License and/or a Milk Dealer License.
  5. IMS program participation and ramifications
  6. Product labeling
  7. Drug residue testing and reporting
  8. Fee structure and monthly usage reporting
  9. Inspection procedures and policies
  10. Equipment testing procedures and policies
  11. Product sampling requirements
  12. Other agency requirements and relationships (EPA, Local Building Codes, FDA, USDA)
  13. Questions from you, the prospective processor

 On-Farm Processing Topics

When considering the processing of dairy products on your farm, you must consider a number of factors.  Time, effort, and cost are just a few of the items you should evaluate before embarking on making dairy products at the farm. The Ohio Department of Agriculture, Dairy Division, is charged with ensuring consumers of the wholesomeness and safety of all dairy products. The following outline gives you a general idea of several issues you must address before obtaining a license.  Each of the items below can be expanded to see more information about that particular topic.

Separate Rooms:

A separate room is required to handle milk and milk products. The milkhouse or a room in your residence is not acceptable for this purpose.

Pasteurization:

All Grade A dairy products such as, fluid milk, creams, cottage cheese and sour cream, must be pasteurized. In addition, other standardized and non-standardized products must be pasteurized. Soft cheeses and frozen dessert mixes are examples. Pasteurization methods must be legal pasteurization. As an example, a vat pasteurizer must have:  3 thermometers (product thermometer, air space thermometer, and a recording thermometer), an agitator, and a properly designed outlet valve.

Drug Residue Testing:

All dairy processors, Grade A and Manufacture Grade, are mandated to perform drug residue testing on incoming raw milk. All testers shall be properly trained, and all test methods shall be acceptable to the Director.

Filling and Capping of Containers:

All containers of dairy products must be mechanically filled and capped.  In other words, no hand filling and capping is allowed.

Source of the Raw Milk:

Licensed dairy processors must receive milk from a licensed and inspected dairy producer or milk plant.