The Dairy Standard Agency NPC (DSA) is a non-profit company established by the organized dairy industry and the South African National Consumer Union to enhance the competitiveness of the SA dairy industry by promoting compliance with product composition, food safety and metrology standards.
DSA is recognized as an independent, scientific organization by the respective government bodies, the organized primary and secondary dairy industry and other stakeholders such as national consumer bodies and the retail sector.
As substandard products in the retail can cause extensive harm to both the industry and the consumer, the promotion of compliance with standards relating to milk and other dairy products, remains a demanding and multi-dimensional task. This task is especially challenging due to:
- The involvement of regulations relating to product composition, metrology, food safety, animal health, animal feed, milking parlours, the transportation of milk, processing plants and storage;
- The fact that the regulations referred to in i above were issued in terms of five different laws of which the enforcement is the responsibility of the:
- Department of Health, Provincial Health Departments and Municipal Health Authorities in terms of the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act, 1972 (Act 54 of 1972);
- Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) in terms of the -
- Agricultural Product Standards Act, 1990 (Act 119 of 1990);
- Animal Health Act, 1984 (Act 35 of 1984);
- Fertilisers, Farm Feeds, Agricultural Remedies and Stock Remedies Act, 1947 (Act 36 of 1947);
- National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) and the application of the relevant regulations in terms of the Legal Metrology Act, 2014 (Act 9 of 2014).
The objectives of DSA include:
- Supporting and interacting with existing government bodies responsible for maintaining standards
- Supporting and interacting with existing risk identification structures/initiatives
- Maintaining integrity, independent from commercial interests
- Monitoring (screening) milk and other dairy products to determine quality risks (food safety, product composition and metrology) by using legal and voluntary standards
- Supporting government, dairy and other industry structures and international bodies with similar objectives
Some important facts and functions are as follows:
- DSA's role and activities have been expanded in respect of participation in the harmonization of standards on the African continent through the African Standards Organisation.
- DSA initiated the review of the VPN 20 to ensure that the updated Code of Practice for Milk Producers is aligned with statutory regulations and to support export certification. This Code of Practice includes biosecurity and animal welfare.
- DSA consulted with dairy industry role-players which led to revised draft regulations for Dairy Products and Imitation Dairy Products (R1510 of 2019) as well as the micro-criteria required for the revision of R1555 of 1997 which are the Regulations Relating to Milk and Dairy Products.
- Farm audits assisted milk producers to implement sustainable and effective food safety systems, based on the prerequisite programmes as provided for in Regulation 908 of 27 June 2003, issued in terms of the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectant Act (Act 54 of 1972), as well as the DSA Code of Practice for the Secondary Industry.
- Audit services were expanded to include animal welfare audits, aligned with South African National Standards 1694 of 2018: "The Welfare of Dairy Cattle".
- As reference laboratory for the SA dairy industry, the DSA Laboratory supplies reference samples for calibration of laboratory equipment and also analyzes routine samples in terms of the Milk SA Quality & Safety Programme, while it supports special investigations as well as the R&D Programme of Milk SA.