How MilkSure works **changes since November 2020**
MilkSure is a training and veterinary certification programme for dairy farmers. Whilst centred on residue avoidance in milk, it covers other areas of good medicine stewardship, such as adhering to correct treatment protocols, medicine storage, and reducing the risk of antibiotic resistance.
The initiative is led by Dairy UK and has been developed in conjunction with BCVA (the British Cattle Veterinary Association).
MilkSure is in two parts. Firstly, during Part 1, training is delivered one-to-one or in small groups by MilkSure Registered Vets. Training is supported by a set of materials (workbook plus videos) which have been developed by dairy industry and veterinary specialists and endorsed by the British Cattle Veterinary Association. The materials provide consistency to the training which is farmer friendly; it is interactive and discussion based rather than didactic learning, or preachy.
The course covers all the technical and practical aspects necessary to safeguard residue-free milk and an online test checks that farmers and dairy workers have understood the key principles after the training.
Secondly, the farm’s usual vet completes a thorough risk assessment with the farmer and reviews the farm’s medicine use (Part 2). This is to ensure compliance with legislation (for example around medicine storage, recording and disposal), and to identify areas of improvement to reduce the chance of residues in milk. The focus is on all veterinary medicines, not only antibiotics. A management plan is agreed.
How to become MilkSure accredited
From 1st November 2020, it is no longer necessary to register your farm individually for MilkSure, like it was previously. You can undertake training with a MilkSure Registered Vet, who will then help you take an online test. You must also complete your farm’s risk assessment, and this should be with your own usual vet. A booklet is used for the training and to record the farm’s risk assessment and management plan.
The training, risk assessment and test takes around 3 hours in all, usually completed over two sessions.
- MilkSure accreditation is on a per farm basis. The training can be done for multiple workers.
- A farm becomes accredited once the online test has been passed and the MilkSure Registered Vet has certified that the training has been delivered, and a farm risk assessment completed and a management plan agreed.
- Whilst the training must be delivered by a MilkSure Registered Vet, presently (until January 2022), the farm risk assessment and management plan can be completed by another vet within the same practice, under the guidance of the MilkSure Registered Vet.
- Accreditation is valid for one year from the date of award.
Benefits of MilkSure training:
MilkSure provides an annual accreditation for the farm. Each year, the management plan is reviewed and a new risk assessment and medicine review carried out by the vet. At each renewal (Top Up), the farmer and milking staff must pass an online problem-based evaluation to demonstrate their competency in medicine use and the application of correct withdrawal times. New members of staff undertake the initial training module and check test.
The course is suitable for anyone who milks cows.
- ✓ having fewer costly milk residue failures
- ✓ using medicines more efficiently
- ✓ demonstrating to customers a clear commitment to producing pure, safe milk
- ✓ ensuring the medicines prescribed are being used as intended
- ✓ fulfilling a responsibility for safeguarding that dairy products remain medicine-free
- ✓ demonstrating leadership in responsible use of veterinary medicines on dairy farms
- ✓ having to deal with fewer costly milk medicine residue failures
- ✓ gaining the respect and confidence of dairy consumers
- ✓ promoting the highest level of food safety