Department of Agriculture - Ohio Manufacture Milk Rules - Packaging and general information.

Published: 2016-02-21

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(A) The size, style, and type of packaging containers used for dairy products shall be commercially acceptable and acceptable to the director. The packaging containers and materials shall satisfactorily cover and protect the quality of the contents under normal conditions of handling during storage and shipment. The weight and shape within each size or style shall be as uniform as is possible.

(B) Packaging materials for dairy products shall provide sufficiently low permeability to air and vapor to prevent the formation of mold growth and surface oxidation. Packaging materials shall be practically free of bacterial contamination. In addition, the outer package wrapper should be resistant to punctures, tearing, cracking, or breaking under normal conditions of handling, shipping, and storage. When special-type packaging is used the instructions of the manufacturer shall be followed closely as to application and methods of closure.

(C) Caps or covers which extend over the lip of the container shall be used on all cups or tubs containing two pounds or less to protect the product from contamination during subsequent handling.

(D) Liners and wrappers. Supplies of parchment liners, wrappers, and other packaging material shall be protected against dust, mold, and other possible contamination.

(1) Prior to use, parchment liners for bulk butter packages shall be completely immersed in a boiling salt solution in a suitable container constructed of stainless steel or other equally noncorrosive material. The liners shall be maintained in the solution for not less than thirty minutes. The solution should consist of at least fifteen pounds of salt for every eighty-five pounds of water and shall be strengthened or changed as frequently as necessary to keep the solution at full strength and in good condition.

(2) Other liners, such as polyethylene plastic, shall be treated or handled in a manner to prevent contamination of the liner prior to filling.

(E) Packaging, cutting, and repackaging of all dairy products shall be conducted under rigid sanitary conditions. The atmosphere of the packaging rooms shall have an atmosphere relatively free from mold (not exceeding ten mold colonies per cubic foot of air) and be practically free from bacterial contamination. Methods for determining the level of contamination shall be as prescribed by the latest edition of standard methods.

(F) An area shall be provided for filling bulk bins, drums, bags, or other bulk containers and shall be constructed in accordance with rules 901:11-2-20 and 901:11-2-22 of the Administrative Code. The number of control panels and switch boxes in this area shall be kept to a minimum. Control panels shall be mounted a sufficient distance from the walls to facilitate cleaning or shall be mounted in the wall and provided with tight-fitting removable doors to facilitate cleaning. An adequate dust collection system shall be provided at the point of packaging to minimize the accumulation of product dust within the packaging area and, where needed, a dust collector shall be provided and properly maintained to keep roofs and outside areas free of dry product. Only packaging materials that are used within one day may be kept in the packaging area. These materials shall be kept off the floor. Unnecessary fixtures, equipment, or inaccessible areas which may collect dust and harbor insects, shall not be allowed in the packaging area.

(G) An area shall be provided for the transfer of bulk dry dairy products from bags or drums to the hoppers and conveyors which are connected to the fillers. This area shall meet the same requirements for construction and facilities as the bulk packaging operation. Areas and facilities provided for the transfer of dry dairy products from portable bulk bins will be acceptable if gasketed surfaces or direct connections are used that significantly eliminate the escape of product into the area.

(H) Packages or containers used for the packaging of nonfat dry milk or other dry milk products shall be any clean, sound, commercially accepted container or packaging material that is acceptable to the director. Those packages or containers that satisfactorily protect the contents through shipment, without significant impairment of quality with respect to flavor, wholesomeness, or moisture content under the normal conditions of handling shall be used. In no instance will containers which have previously been used for nonfood items or food which would be deleterious to the dairy product be allowed to be used for the bulk handling of dairy products.

(I) Containers to be filled shall be protected at all times from possible contamination. Containers, which are to be lined, shall not be prepared more than one hour in advance of filling. Every precaution shall be taken during the filling operation to minimize product dust and spillage. When necessary, a mechanical shaker shall be provided. The tapping of containers shall be prohibited. The containers shall be closed immediately after filling and the exteriors shall be vacuumed or brushed when necessary to render them practically free of product particles before transfer from the filling room to the palleting or dry storage areas.

(J) The entire repackaging operation shall be conducted in a sanitary manner with all precautions taken to prevent contamination and to minimize dust. All exterior surfaces of individual containers shall be practically free of product before over wrapping or packing in shipping containers. The floor shall be kept free of dust accumulation, waste, cartons, liners, or other refuse. Conveyors, packaging, and carton making equipment shall be vacuumed frequently during the operating day to prevent the accumulation of dust. No bottles or glass materials of any kind shall be permitted in the repackaging or hopper room. The inlet openings of all hoppers and bins shall be of minimum size, screened and placed considerably above the floor level. The room and all packaging equipment shall be cleaned as often as necessary to maintain a sanitary operation. Close attention shall be given to specific points of equipment where residues of the dry product may accumulate. A thorough cleanup including windows, doors, walls, light fixtures, and ledges, shall be performed as frequently as necessary to maintain a high level of cleanliness and sanitation. All waste dry dairy products including the remaining product at the fillers shall be properly identified and disposed of as animal feed.

(K) All supplies shall be placed on dunnage or pallets and arranged in an orderly manner for accessibility and cleaning of the room. Supplies shall be kept enclosed in their original packaging material until used. After removal of supplies from the original containers, the supplies shall be kept in enclosed metal cabinets, bins, or on shelving and if not enclosed shall be protected from powder and dust or other contamination. The room shall be vacuumed as often as necessary and shall be kept clean and orderly.

(L) Churn areas, in addition to proper construction and sanitation, shall be equipped so that the air is kept free from objectionable odors and vapors and extreme temperatures by means of adequate ventilation and exhaust systems or air conditioning and heating facilities.

(M) Areas used for packaging print or bulk butter and related products shall, in addition to proper construction and sanitation, have an atmosphere relatively free from mold (not exceeding ten mold colonies per cubic foot of air), dust, or other airborne contamination.

(N) When filling bulk butter containers, the lined butter containers shall be protected from possible contamination prior to filling.

(O) If cheese is to be paraffined, a drying room of adequate size shall be provided to accommodate the maximum production of cheese during the flush period. Adequate shelving and air circulation shall be provided for proper drying. Suitable temperature and humidity control facilities shall be provided.

(P) For rind cheese, a separate room or compartment shall be provided for paraffining and boxing the cheese. The room or compartment shall be of adequate size and the temperature shall be maintained near the temperature of the drying room to avoid sweating of the cheese prior to paraffining.

(Q) For rindless blocks, a suitable space shall be provided for proper wrapping and boxing of the cheese. The area shall be free from dust, condensation, have an atmosphere relatively free from mold (not exceeding ten mold colonies per cubic foot of air) or other conditions which may contaminate the surface of the cheese or contribute to an unsatisfactory packaging of the cheese.

(R) Coolers or curing rooms where cheese is held for curing or storage shall be clean and maintained at the proper uniform temperature and humidity to adequately protect the cheese. Proper circulation of air shall be maintained at all times. The rooms shall be free from rodents, insects, and pests. The shelves shall be kept clean and dry.

(S) When small packages of cheese are cut and wrapped, an area shall be provided for the cleaning, preparation, cutting and wrapping operation.

(T) Packaging rindless cheese or cutting and repackaging all styles of bulk cheese shall be conducted under rigid sanitary conditions. The atmosphere of the packaging rooms and the equipment and packaging material shall have an atmosphere relatively free from mold (not exceeding ten mold colonies per cubic foot of air) and be practically free from bacterial contamination.