The National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments (NCIMS) Grade “A” Milk Safety Program and the Grade “A” Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO) require that all Grade “A” milk and milk products shipped in interstate commerce and all Grade “A” milk and milk products submitted for importation into the United States come from a source listed in the Interstate Milk Shippers (IMS) List. Information on the “Options” for the importation of Grade “A” dairy products is available in the document M-I-00-4 located at the following site: http://www.fda.gov/food/guidanceregulation/guidancedocumentsregulatoryinformation/milk/ucm080157.htm
Under the NCIMS, State Regulatory Agencies have the legal authority to regulate Grade “A” milk and milk products, from both domestic and firms located outside the United States. The laws and regulations of some States; however, as well as available State resources, have limited the States in their efforts to provide comprehensive enforcement and compliance of all applicable NCIMS requirements concerning imported Grade “A” milk and milk products.
Because a number of dairy firms located outside the United States have expressed an interest in exporting Grade “A” milk and milk products to NCIMS member States and in an effort to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of available resources, the NCIMS proposed and implemented an International Certification Program (ICP). The ICP subsequently expanded the opportunity for dairy facilities located outside the United States to participate in the NCIMS Program by increasing available resources while maintaining compliance with the NCIMS Grade “A” Milk Safety Program and ensuring the same level of milk safety provided under the NCIMS program. The ICP affords firms located outside the United States an additional “Option” (to the ones addressed in M-I-00-4) thus addressing the issue of imported Grade “A” milk and milk products by establishing a regulatory and rating program designed to follow and apply all of the applicable NCIMS Grade “A” Milk Safety Program requirements. The ICP provides a mechanism for listing the dairy located outside the United States, associated dairy farm bulk tank unit(s) (BTU) and laboratory facilities in the IMS List.
Specifically the ICP ensures:
- Compliance with all applicable requirements of the Grade “A” PMO and related NCIMS documents;
- The same level of safety for imported milk and milk products as provided for domestic milk and milk products within the current NCIMS program; and
- A mechanism for NCIMS member States to accept Grade “A” milk and milk products from IMS Listed ICP facilities.
Personnel from third party certification (TPC) firms are required to comply with all applicable requirements included in the PMO and NCIMS related documents. These TPC personnel will assess: Grade “A” farms, bulk milk hauler/samplers, milk tank trucks, milk tank truck cleaning facilities, transfer stations, receiving stations, milk plants, conduct dairy plant and industry plant sampler inspections/evaluations, etc. They will collect all required regulatory milk, single-service containers/closures, and water samples. Upon FDA certification, TPC personnel will conduct Milk Sanitation Compliance and Enforcement Ratings, Laboratory Evaluations, and NCIMS voluntary HACCP program audits, if applicable, for transfer stations, receiving stations, and milk plants located outside the geographic boundaries of NCIMS member States for the purpose of listing facilities in the IMS List.
The following TPC firms have been selected to participate in the voluntary ICP:
Milk Regulatory Consultants, LLC
R. Lynn Young, Owner
56820 Highway A
Russellville, Missouri 65074 – USA
Harold Wainess & Associates, Inc.
Kenneth Anderson, President
2045 N.Dunhill Court N.
Arlington Heights, Illinois 60004 – USA
Dairy companies located outside the United States may contact these firms directly to inquire about certification opportunities offered under the Voluntary ICP.
Additional information concerning this voluntary ICP program is also available from:
Claudia Coles, International Certification Program Committee (ICPC) Co-Chair
Washington State Department of Agriculture
Tom Ford, ICPC Co-Chair
Indiana Board of Animal Health
PLEASE NOTE: The correct FAX number for Tom Ford is 317-974-2011.
The ICP Committee has developed several items of importance to the International Certification Program.
- NCIMS Cover Letter
- ICP Application Information
- ICP TPC Application Form
- ICP Letter of Intent
- ICP Memorandum of Agreement
- ICP Questions and Answers, January 1, 2014
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has released the following documents regarding this program:
- M-I-13-8 Announcing The Solicitation Of Applications By The National Conference On Interstate Milk Shipments For Third Party Certifiers To Participate In The National Conference On Interstate Milk Shipments Voluntary International Certification Program
- M-I-14-5 Questions And Answers Related To The National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments Voluntary International Certification Program