The issues that are important to the Valio milk production chain are recorded in the Valio milk quality program; the key criteria are quality, cleanness and safety. The purpose of the Valio milk quality system is to secure the high quality of milk throughout the production chain from the dairy farms to the plants, and thus guarantee the high quality of products for consumers.
The underlying purpose of the quality system is to map and control the risk factors. The operating and work instructions included in the Milk Quality Manual have been prepared to enable the dairy farms to manage such control. Another important goal is the development of operations, which contributes to improvements in profitability and attends e.g. to the ethical and environmental aspects of production.
The Milk Quality Manual contains production practice guidelines for Valio Group and is regularly updated. The guidelines describe the principles of the Valio milk quality system, quality norms for milk, the implementation of quality work, milk handling and equipment, the health and well-being of dairy cattle, feed and feeding, and environmental issues. The Milk Quality Manual is used at all Valio dairy farms.
The milk producers’ contribution to the quality chain is critical as the quality generated at the farm is unique – it is very difficult to improve on at the later stages of production. Valio Group employs Quality Steps intended to provide milk producers with the tools necessary to develop their own farm in accordance with their own abilities and resources. Valio Farm Services and Valio Group dairy co-operatives regularly arrange training on ways to develop dairy farms into milk producers.
The Quality Steps comprise three levels. Farm specific quality work starts with uncompromising statutory compliance. The basis for the second level is that the milk producer and the dairy co-operative responsible for milk procurement enter into a quality agreement. According to the agreement, the milk producer undertakes to follow the guidelines in the Milk Quality Manual. 98% of Valio milk producers have signed up. At the third level, a dairy farm may receive a Valio Dairy Farm endorsement once it has fulfilled the criteria. The endorsement recognises the farm’s investment in quality, the well-being of its animals, and the farm environment. The endorsement tells passers-by that the farm has implemented multiple investments in production and produces excellent milk. Around 28% of Valio dairy farms have the endorsement.