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Dairy registration and inspections

How to apply for registration of a milk production holding and how we carry out inspections on dairy farms.

Last updated: 5 March 2020

Milk production holding registration

To be able to produce milk and milk products, you will need to register.

In England and Wales, you can apply for registration with us using the application for registration of milk production holding form.

England and Wales

If you need any advice or help with your application, you can contact us by emailing: approvals@food.gov.uk

Northern Ireland

You can apply for registration in Northern Ireland with Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Northern Ireland.

Dairy hygiene inspections

We inspect all dairy farms in England and Wales.

Our dairy hygiene inspections ensure a satisfactory standard of hygiene is maintained on all dairy farms and that all legal obligations are being met. We do this by:

  • inspecting milking premises and equipment
  • inspecting milk-producing animals
  • enforcing satisfactory standards

The inspections help to protect the nation's raw milk supply from the risk of contamination by harmful bacteria and other substances.

    Northern Ireland

    In Northern Ireland dairy hygiene inspection is carried out by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Quality Assurance Branch.

    Frequency of inspections 

    The routine inspection frequency for registered milk production premises depends on:

    • the type of product
    • species producing the milk
    • the date of the last inspection
    • membership of the third-party accreditation scheme (Red Tractor Farm Assurance Dairy Scheme (RTFADS))
    • the compliance history of the farm
    • any other local intelligence, complaints or investigations that might grant an inspection

    Inspection every 6 months

    • raw cows drinking milk for sale direct to the final consumer
    • raw drinking milk of all other species for sale direct to the final consumer

    Inspection every 2 years

    • raw milk production for wholesale from species other than cows
    • raw milk production for wholesale from cows on non-assured dairy farm

    Inspection every 10 years

    • raw milk production for wholesale from cows on assured dairy farm