October 28, 2021

Laboratory technicians test milk to guarantee product freshness

Grant’s Dairy is committed to providing the highest quality products to our customers. To do this, we monitor our milk from the dairy farm, through the processing plant, into the retail package and to your local store.

Every employee at Grant’s Dairy is responsible for the quality of our products. Employees are trained in GMPs, good manufacturing practices, to minimize quality issues. Employees closely monitor their work areas and immediately address any quality issues that occur.

Our laboratory technicians are certified by Maine under the Federal Interstate Milk Shippers certification process. They are evaluated for proper testing techniques and record-keeping during on-site inspections. The technicians must also analyze unknown samples and report their results to the state on an annual basis to maintain their certification.

In addition to the certification of the laboratory technicians, our farms and processing plant are also inspected on a regular basis by state and federal inspectors. These inspections are the final link for ensuring superior quality dairy products from the farms to the consumer.

Our certified laboratory technicians interact with every facet of the business. They test samples, report results, and answer questions for our 100-percent Maine-member farmers.

The lab checks the samples taken by our milk haulers to be sure all the necessary regulatory information is provided, and the sample quality is maintained from the farm to the plant. Our milk receiver brings a sample from each load of milk to the laboratory to be tested.

The sample must meet strict state, federal, and Grant’s Dairy quality standards before the milk is unloaded into a storage silo. If the milk is found to be unacceptable, it is disposed of, and the laboratory works diligently with the farmer, milk hauler, and receiver to continuously improve all facets of milk procurement.

Many times during the processing day, the laboratory tests product to be sure it meets specifications. If it does not, the techncian informs production personnel so that processing adjustments can be made. All products must meet strict specifications for butterfat, weight, keeping quality, and flavor and must be approved by the laboratory before being released for distribution.

Our products are rotated in our distribution center to guarantee delivery of the freshest possible products. During distribution, our route drivers make sure the customers receive excellent quality milk. As quality manager for Grant’s, I oversee all these interactions between the lab, production employees, distribution, and the customer. Our state-of-the-art facility at 1 Milk St. was designed with quality in mind.

Each processing step is segregated: raw milk; ingredient and supply storage; milk processing; pasteurized milk to be packaged; plastic-bottle labeling; container filling; container casing; and distribution center. Air-handling systems filter the air and provide positive pressure to provide the best product available. Computers control the processing of products and the cleaning of equipment.

It is a real pleasure to work in such a modern facility. This is a quality manager’s dream! We have a beautiful plant, exceptional employees, a modern laboratory. We produce excellent milk at Grant’s Dairy.

Rebecca Piston is the quality assurance manager for Grant’s Dairy.

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