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Quality Assurance in Dairy: Our Rigorous Testing and Standards

Dairy Supplier Toronto

In the world of dairy, everything starts with milk! Most of us think of milk as a cool white liquid added to cereal or coffee or as a refreshing and fortifying beverage. In Canada, and indeed around the world, most milk comes from cows. Worldwide it accounts for 81% of all milk consumption.


Here in the land of the Maple Leaf, Statistics Canada's "Milk Production and Milk Disposition Surveys" indicate that a whopping 98% of milk produced and consumed in Canada comes from cows. Therefore, in this article, the words “milk” and “dairy” refer to cow’s milk and dairy products.


Non-cow Dairy

However, consumers of non-cow dairy products, and even plant-based milk, can rest assured that their products have also undergone stringent testing and quality-control measures under the direction of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). This robust testing includes comprehensive checks for temperature, bacterial contamination, composition, hygiene, antibiotic residues, somatic cell counts, and water content. Each test serves to uphold quality and to prevent health risks. Tests ensure that dairy products meet high standards before reaching consumers via dairy suppliers and vendors.


Governing Bodies

While food prices in Canada may fluctuate according to season, availability, and gas prices, the quality and safety of our dairy products are never compromised, for the Canadian dairy industry is governed by strict standards established by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), Health Canada, Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) and provincial dairy boards.


In Ontario, the responsibility for conducting quality tests for milk falls under the jurisdiction of three main bodies:

·       Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA): regulates and oversees the dairy industry in Ontario, conducts inspections, sets standards, and ensures compliance with regulations related to milk production and quality

·       Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO): represents dairy farmers in Ontario and plays a role in implementing quality assurance programs and standards on farms; may conduct on-farm testing and monitoring

·       Processing Plants: conduct quality tests on milk as part of the production process


Milk Processing

Dairy production begins at the farm and ends at your home. From farm to table, it involves several critical steps.

1.     Milking: Machines express milk from cows.

2.     Rapid Cooling: Immediately after milking, the milk undergoes rapid cooling to preserve freshness and prevent bacterial growth.

3.     Transportation to Processing Plants: Cooled milk is transported in temperature-controlled tanks to keep it fresh and safe for further processing.

4.     Pasteurization: Milk is heated to a specific temperature for a set period to eliminate harmful bacteria while preserving the nutritional integrity of the milk.

5.     Homogenization: The fat globules in the milk are broken down to ensure a smooth and uniform texture, consistency, and appearance.

6.     Packaging: Once pasteurized and homogenized, milk is packaged into various containers under strict hygiene standards to prevent contamination and maintain product freshness.

7.     Quality Control: Throughout each stage of the production process, rigorous quality control measures are implemented. These include regular testing for temperature, bacterial contamination, composition (such as fat and protein content), hygiene, and antibiotic residues.

8.     Distribution and Sale: Dairy suppliers distribute packaged milk to retail stores, supermarkets, and other outlets. During distribution, temperature control is maintained to ensure the products reach consumers in optimal condition.

9.     Consumption: Milk and dairy products are enjoyed directly from their packages or transformed into other delicious foods and beverages.

Milk Testing

Before milk or any dairy product reaches the dairy supplier, more than 100 regulations must be met. Some of the tests used to ensure the quality of dairy products are:

·       temperature checks to maintain freshness and prevent bacterial growth throughout the process

·       bacterial checks to keep harmful bacteria from entering the milk supply

·       composition test to ensure the nutritional quality of the milk; fat, protein, and other components are checked

·       hygiene checks are done to maintain strict hygiene protocols and prevent contamination during production and handling.

·       antibiotic tests screen for antibiotic residues and keep affected milk from being processed

·       somatic cell count tests monitor the white blood cell levels of production cows to protect their udder health and milk quality

·       water tests verify the moisture levels to prevent dilution and maintain milk integrity


Testing Other Dairy Products

When milk is processed into other dairy products like kefir, butter, and cheese, safety and quality control testing continues. It includes:

·       further bacteria tests

·       composition checks

·       hygiene tests

·       texture and taste tests

·       packaging checks


The Role of Quality Control

With all the testing and quality control measures implemented in the Canadian and Ontario dairy industries, you can trust that the milk and dairy products you buy, use, and consume are safe, high-quality, and adhere to some of the most rigorous standards for freshness and nutritional integrity in the world. These measures also ensure that:

  • dairy processors follow to the safest practices and protocols for handling milk and milk products

  • dairy farmers prioritize the well-being of their cows, ensuring they are happy, healthy, and capable of producing high-quality milk

  • dairy suppliers, distributors, and vendors maintain the quality and freshness of products throughout the supply chain

Quality control also plays a vital role in upholding the integrity and reputation of the Canadian dairy industry as well as:

·       creating consistent product composition, texture, taste, and appearance

·       helping optimize production processes that will improve efficiency and reduce waste

·       establishing traceability throughout the supply

·       allowing for continuous improvement through feedback, audits, and corrective actions to meet consumer preferences


Quality Dairy Supplier in the GTA

If you are a grocer, chef, or other food-service professional looking for a quality dairy supplier in the Greater Toronto Area, call Mr. Dairy and Food Distributing Ltd. We adhere to the highest standards of temperature control, transportation, and delivery. As a Toronto dairy supplier, we offer over 2,000 dairy products, including milk and other beverages, yogurt, cheese and ice cream, from Barrie to Niagara to Oshawa. Call us at 866-491-2423 to set up an order today.


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