Our Organisation Search
Quick Links
Toggle: Topics

Research impact highlights - Dairy

Taking the chlorine out of cleaning on dairy farms

David Gleeson, Bernadette O Brien, Tom Beresford and Lorna Twomey


Using chlorine-free protocols resulted in a 7% reduction in detected chlorate residues
in bulk tank milk.

When detergents containing chlorine are used for cleaning milking equipment, they can leave residues such as trichloromethane (TCM) and chlorates in milk and dairy products. These residues are potentially harmful to human health if present in significant levels in dairy products. Cleaning protocols for milking equipment were developed at Teagasc Moorepark to address the issue of chlorine-related residues in bulk tank milk.


Using chlorine-free protocols resulted in a 17% reduction in detected trichloromethane residues in bulk tank milk.

The chlorine-free protocols incorporate new detergents developed in conjunction with chemical manufacturers, with a focus on water temperature and an increase in the use of acid-based products. The protocols were initially evaluated on Teagasc research farms and then on commercial dairy farms. Teagasc communicated the details of these protocols to farmers using a dedicated web link and a series of webinars undertaken in conjunction with milk quality advisors and the Teagasc advisory services. Since January 2021, it has been recommended practice that all dairy farmers adopt chlorine-free protocols for milking equipment cleaning.

Contact: david.gleeson@teagasc.ie  
Other contributors: Detergent chemical manufacturers, dairy farmers and milk processors.
Funding: Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Teagasc.
Impact pathway: Technology development and adoption.