Best Practices


The following best practices are common-sense suggestions towards reducing the risk of pathogen contamination in raw milk produced through private herdshares. Best practices are effective in reducing risk, but cannot guarantee a 100% safe food. Please see disclaimer.


Farm Conditions


Water source is tested to be free from Coliform bacteria on a yearly basis.

Areas where dairy livestock are bedded are dry and completely mud-free. Manure is removed frequently to avoid buildup or deep pack carbon bedding is used.

Manure is managed with rotational grazing and/or frequent removal from barns and paddocks to avoid build up.

Manure compost piles are located away from where dairy livestock are bedded.

Swine and poultry are fenced separately from areas where dairy livestock are housed and where dairy livestock feed is stored.

All livestock on the farm are managed so as to have ample space and avoid overcrowding.

Livestock Health


All new dairy livestock are screened for TB prior to entering the milking string. Thereafter dairy livestock is screened once per year if there is contact with goats or cows outside of the screened herd, and once per three years if no contact outside the screened herd.

All dairy cattle are vaccinated for Brucellosis. (Testing recommended but not required for goats.)

Dairy livestock are monitored regularly either with cow-side/goat-side or lab testing to ensure a Somatic Cell Count of <600000 for cows and <1000000 for goats.

Dairy livestock are provided adequate nutrition to support good body condition and health.

Dairy livestock are provided with clean, potable water for drinking. Water containers are kept clean.

Dairy livestock that present with symptoms of illness, lameness, or mastitis are separated from the herd and removed from the milking string until health status is regained.

Milk Collection Practices


Stationary milking area has a non-earthen floor and  is kept free of mud, manure, birds, vermin and other farm animals. Mobile pasture milking is done in a manure and mud free location, and milking buckets and equipment do not come in contact with the soil.

A designated clean room is used for filtering, pouring and cooling milk and storing equipment and jars.  The Clean Room is kept clean and free from dust, flies, vermin and other farm animals.  Floors and work surfaces are non porous and cleanable.  No farm products other than dairy are handled in the Clean Room.

Equipment is washed and sanitized in the Clean Room or other sanitary location set apart exclusively for this purpose.

Equipment is washed within one hour of milking using a method that prevents milkstone and bacteria buildup. Wash water is potable and capable of maintaining a temperature of at least 120 degrees throughout the wash cycle.

Teats orifices are cleared, teats are cleaned free of manure, sanitized, and completely dry prior to milking.

Milk is filtered immediately after collection and prior to jar filling.

Milk is bottled in half gallon or smaller glass jars.

Jars provided by the farm are sanitized in an NSF residential or commercial dishwasher or by other method capable of reaching 150 degrees. –OR–  Jars are provided by members and clearly labeled with members’ names

Jars are labeled with the date milk was collected.

Milk is cooled to under 50 degrees within two hours of collection and under 40 degrees within 4 hours either by ice water bath or mini free standing bulk tank chiller.

Milk is maintained at a temperature of <40 degrees until it reaches its final consumer. Refrigerator temperature is monitored with a thermometer.

Milking personal are trained in proper milk handing procedures and fee of contagious illness when handling milk.

Milk Testing


Milk is verified to contain <10 Coliform and <15,000 SPC through lab testing at one of the following frequencies.

1. Herds producing less than 5 gallons per day, 1 test every 3 months. Regular on-farm testing using 3m petrifilm technology is recommended.

2. Herds producing between 5-30  gallons per day, 1 test every month. Regular on-farm testing using 3M Petrifilm technology is recommended.

If bacteria levels are found in excess of thresholds, farmer will work immediately to isolate and correct root cause of bacterial contamination and retest within 1 week until levels are once again within limits.

Recall Plan


Contact information is collected for all members. Should a problem with the milk be suspected, members may be easily contacted.