Sampling and Testing of Dairy Products

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The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) samples and tests a variety of domestic and imported food products to:

  • Verify industry compliance
  • Gather baseline information and perform assessments
  • Set standards and guidelines
  • Maintain consumers' confidence in the safety of the food supply and facilitate market access

Sampling of dairy products is performed by a CFIA inspector as part of the Agency's monitoring and compliance activities. The CFIA also conducts directed sampling (e.g. commodity types or geographical areas) to verify any suspected problems of potential health risk and/or economic fraud. The Food and Drugs Act gives the authority to CFIA inspectors to take samples at any time, without charge. An official receipt for samples taken can be requested by the manufacturer, importer or producer.

Sampling and testing of dairy products is done under 3 programs:

Sample selection and sample size vary depending on the product, the analysis required and the lab methodology. The following table shows examples of typical sampling done in dairy products.
Standard Tests Number of Sub-Samples Minimum Sample Sizes
NCRMP Single and multi-residue methods for pesticides, veterinary drugs, metals, mycotoxins and contaminants Up to 5 for each food sample
3 for raw milk
500 g for cheese and powders
500 ml Table Note 2 for raw milk
NMMP Analytical methods may include: commercial sterility and container integrity analyses, tests for indicator organisms and pathogenic organisms, phosphatase test, environmental sampling and testing Up to 5 for each food sample
Up to 25 for powders
200 g Table Note 2 for butter, cheese and frozen products
100 g Table Note 2 for powders
200 ml Table Note 2 for milk
NACASP Analytical methods may include: standard chemical composition, fat and moisture, protein, total solids, vitamins, calcium, pH, water activity, moisture content, phosphates and total salts, fibre, adulteration, additives Up to 5 for each food sample 454 g Table Note 2 for butter
500 g for cheese and frozen products
100 g Table Note 2 for powders
L Table Note 2 for milk (vitamins)
250 ml Table Note 2 for milk (other)

Table Notes

Table note 2

per sub-sample

Return to table note 2  referrer

The CFIA takes appropriate actions when dairy products do not meet Canadian standards. Actions may include, but are not limited to, additional inspections, further directed sampling, or product seizure and/or recall.

For additional information, contact your nearest CFIA office.

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