Procedures for Using and Maintaining Dippers

Occasionally improper milk sample collection may contribute to increased bacteria counts. Regulatory milk samples must be collected under sanitary conditions taking care to ensure there is no possible contamination of the milk sample due to sampling technique or the sampling tools used. Bulk Tank Milk Graders (BTMGs), more commonly referred to as "drivers", carry a supply of sterile, individually wrapped straws used for collecting a bulk tank milk sample at each pickup. However, when bulk tank volumes are low and the Bulk Tank Milk Grader cannot reach the milk, a sample dipper must be provided by the producer. When it comes to using and maintaining sample dippers both the producer and BTMG have responsibilities.

Producer responsibilities

  • Provide a sample dipper when requested by the BTMG.
  • Ensure sample dipper is made of food grade material that is easily cleanable (such as stainless steel or hard plastic) and has smooth surfaces with no cracks or rough edges. Duct tape, rust, wooden extension handles and painted surfaces are totally unacceptable.
  • Make sure the sample dipper is clean. It is recommended that producers clean with hot water and an appropriate cleaner, rinse the dipper after each use and store it in a clean, dry location until the next use. Dippers left in the wash sink often degrade quicker because of the increased exposure to chemicals and heat.
  • Provide an appropriate container filled with a sanitizing solution prepared according to label instructions. For example, a 200 ppm chlorine solution is recommended for sanitizing milking equipment and can be prepared by mixing 1/3 ounce chlorine (10 milliliters (ml)) to 1 gallon water. Sanitizing solutions lose their strength with time so itmust be prepared fresh just prior to each milk collection.
  • Prior to milk collection, place the dipper in the container of freshly prepared sanitizing solution for a minimum of 2 minutes contact time.
  • After pickup, clean and rinse the dipper and return it to a clean, dry location for storage until the next use.

BTMG responsibilities

  • Take the sample dipper from the sanitizing solution container being careful not to touch it to any surfaces.
  • Do not rinse the dipper with tap water or set it down.
  • To remove any residual sanitizing solution, 'rinse' the dipper in bulk tank milk at least twice.
  • Carefully fill sample vial with milk to the fill line on the vial.
  • Rinse the dipper with clean tap water and place in the sink.

Both producers and BTMG's have important roles to play in the proper collection of a representative sample of milk. The sample taken must represent the quality of milk in the tank, not the condition of the sample dipper. Make sure you are doing your part.


For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca
Author: Mike Foran - Dairy Food Safety Program, Food Inspection Branch/OMAFRA
Creation Date: 27 July 2015
Last Reviewed: 30 July 2015