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COVID-19: Resources for the dairy sector

Date: June 22, 2021
Insights type: News
Subject Area: Economics & Policies, Hygiene & Safety, Nutrition & Health
Categories: News

The global dairy sector is taking the impact of COVID-19 extremely seriously. Please find on this page a summary of global dairy sector responses to COVID-19 and practical support. If you have any examples you would like to contribute, please contact us

Dairy sector responses to the COVID-19 crisis

  • FAO publication, “Exposure of humans or animals to SARS-CoV-2 from wild, livestock, companion and aquatic animals: Qualitative exposure assessment”, now available and accessible here: (New)

          PDF URL:
          Card page:

Other resources

Articles in the Press



The Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) has convened a National Response Group to provide guidance to federal and state governments and a united voice on behalf of the Australian dairy industry. Providing a safe work environment for all workers in the dairy supply chain remains a priority for the dairy industry. In these challenging times, dairy manufacturers and farmers together with others in the supply chain have been working to keep milk flowing and on shelves without risking the health of dairy people.

A whole of industry working group has been collaborating to manage issues related to COVID-19 and is comprised of representatives from Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF), Australian Dairy Products Federation (ADPF) and Dairy Australia. As containment measures around Australia continue to escalate, governments have acknowledged that food and agriculture businesses, including dairy and all supply components, are essential services and are implementing measures to keep supply chains operating.

COVID-19 presents challenges for all agricultural sectors and the working group is responding to issues as they emerge by developing industry specific advice to support dairy businesses. Some example include:

  • How to milk cows while maintaining social distancing;
  • How to manage staff coming on and off farm;
  • How to address supply issues that may disrupt operations for farms and factories;
  • Protocols for managing milk collection; and
  • Questions consumers may have regarding the safety of dairy operations.

To see the growing library of resources, visit the industry’s Dairy Industry COVID-19 Directory pages online.

Industry communications from ADF, ADPF and DA are being continually developed and executed daily. The content of the ‘Dairy Industry Covid-19 (Novel Coronavirus) Directory’ page continues to be developed, with new content available on:

  • Economic stimulus relevant to dairy: ADF have prepared a comprehensive analysis of state and federal stimulus packages announced to date and collated information on the content most relevant to dairy businesses (see pages 16-17 and will be available online soon)
  • Dairy Australia Technical and Innovation Manager, John Penry, highlighting resources the industry is collaborating to develop to assist your farming operation should you become impacted by Covid-19
  • Social distancing for service providers – Detailed advice on how to achieve appropriate social distancing for service providers working on-farm (see page 10)
  • Social distancing during milking – Detailed advice on how to achieve appropriate social distancing during milking in different dairy types (see page 9)
  • Specific biosecurity considerations for Covid-19 – See online here
  • Evidence about the safety of dairy foods – See pages 14-15

Information for consumers – FAQs for consumers about the comparative nutrition, usage and storage of dairy products informed by Australian search engine data and direct enquiries as part of the ‘You Ask, We Answer’ platform of (see pages 11-13)

The focus going forward will include finalising advice for farms on how to manage with reduced labour and how to quickly and successfully skill up new labour for critical tasks including milking. Priority work in progress includes:

  • Sanitisation webinar – Ian Olmstead, DA will be convening a free webinar for dairy industry participants on best-practice sanitisation to control Covid-19. More details to follow in future briefings with date and registration
  • Business impact of a positive case – DA are currently developing advice on how to manage the business implications of a positive case of Covid-19 on farms or premises. The advice will be tailored to family only farms, farms with outside employees and processing operations and includes whether it is possible to self-isolate and continue to work in any
  • Discouraging country travel – DA are developing messages to help industry participants discourage family, friends and wider networks from travelling to regional areas, particularly over the Easter break. This can then be promoted through industry social media channels and used in instances where tourism businesses are encouraging
  • Food safety audits – seeking advice on Covid-19 impact on schedule of food safety
  • Disinfectants – developing advice on suitable cleaning agents to control Covid-19.

Trade & export briefings

Dairy Australia’s Trade & Strategy team have issued a series of trade and export impact briefings. An updated briefing about the impact of Covid-19 on global dairy markets is provided at page 8 as of 25 March 2020. Dairy Australia continues to work closely to investigate technical issues associated with import and export activity. The ADIC has also written to all federal and state agriculture and health ministers for their support to ensure dairy operations across Australia remain open during escalating restrictions. DA are working with the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) and other organisations to ensure that all agriculture and food production is protected as an essential service. ADIC Chair and ADF President Terry Richardson is available for media related to the dairy industry’s response to COVID-19.

For further information, please contact the IDF National Committee in Australia



As info continues to evolve quickly, NMPF and IDFA have set up landing sites to provide accumulated info on US Covid 19 developments and guidance:

Detailed update from IDFA

The International Dairy Foods Association has been closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation to ensure the safety and availability of dairy products throughout the nation during this time of emergency. They are in close communication with members, the White House, U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, Members of Congress, the National Governors Association, and others in the federal government to keep the supply chain free of any avoidable disruptions and to give our producers, processors and retailers as much flexibility as needed during this unprecedented time.

At present, despite significant demand on the food and beverage supply chain, IDFA members report that the nation’s dairy industry is experiencing no domestic interruptions and is continuing to supply American consumers with affordable, healthy milk and dairy products. IDFA is focused on ensuring transportation routes and supply lines in different regions of the country remain free of disruption, even if travel or access is restricted for the general public. These routes are crucial to commerce and public safety and must remain unobstructed. IDFA also reminds members that the industry must remain flexible to get products to consumers wherever they may be, including getting milk to schools and school districts that continue to provide meals to the millions of children who need them each day despite large-scale closures. Moreover, due to the dynamic nature of the COVID-19 public health crisis, there is a need to recognize and appreciate the extra efforts by the employees of companies across the entire dairy supply chain as they work to ensure our nation’s food and beverage needs are met. IDFA will continue to communication across the branches of government to advocate for the needs of members during this extraordinary time.

For relevant information and the latest updates on how COVID-19 is impacting our industry, please visit IDFA have established a new email address to assist our members with questions or requests for assistance from IDFA. Please send queries directly to [email protected], and staff will respond as soon as possible.

IDFA will continue to focus on making sure the U.S. government is aware of the critical needs of the food industry as the government announces new measures and guidance to the general public and the private sector. At the present, IDFA is collaborating with many other food industry trade groups to bring the following issues and concerns to the Administration for action and consideration:

  • Continuity of waste management services, especially if provided by local government or third parties; energy and utilities services; and telecommunications and internet
  • For trucking and rail service, ensuring inbound and outbound transportation routes are not impeded due to containment or quarantines; ensuring local municipalities lift any potential delivery curfews so trucks and rail can deliver when possible
  • Keeping ports open and functional for exports to avoid products backing up in the system and for critical delivery of inputs to food production facilities
  • Ensuring border inspection facilities (Canada and Mexico) prioritize entry of foodstuffs and have mechanisms in place to allow drivers and vehicles expedited screening and entry
  • Maintaining all critical infrastructure, especially if those services are critical to food production and distribution
  • Ensuring food production facilities have access to inputs including ingredients, cleaning and sanitizing products, normal food safety testing products, and packaging supplies
  • Having an actionable, responsible plan in place to ensure workforce continue to have access to food production and distribution facilities if travel or access become restricted
  • A commitment from the federal government that they will provide enough inspectors and other government officials who are essential to the production or movement of food
  • Having an actionable, responsible plan in place to standardize safety of operations in production facilities
  • Providing food manufacturers and distributors with priority access to refrigerated containers and trailers and pallets

IDFA has a dedicated webpage on COVID-19, including key updates on US governmental actions, guidance and other information:

Also of relevance: Department of Labor guidance on preparing workplaces for COVID–

For further information, please contact the IDF National Committee in US


Supporting the Irish dairy and specialised nutrition sector

The impact of the crisis on the Irish dairy and specialised nutrition sector

The primary dairy sector is worth €11.3 billion annually to the Irish economy. DII commissioned EY to conduct an examination on dairy and COVID-19. It found that Irish dairy processors export 92% of all produced products and that three quarters of Irish dairy is exported to the top 15 countries most effected with COVID-19. The spread of COVID-19 has had a dramatic impact on international dairy markets. Product destined for foodservice customers is now flooding into other production areas such as powders and butter. Near term output from the industry could fall by as much as €2.3 billion in value as a result of falling demand and potential losses in processing capacity. Read more


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