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Animal Health & Welfare

Laboratory Services

  • About the Dairy Science Laboratory

Contact Us


Welcome to the Dairy Science Laboratory


The first laboratory dedicated to the analysis of milk and milk products, the Butter Testing Station, opened in Dublin in 1926 under the Butter Produce Act (1924). Further laboratories opened in Cork and Limerick in 1967 and 1973, respectively. The Butter Testing Station was renamed the Dairy Science Laboratory in 1980. In 2005, the laboratory in Dublin moved to a state of the art laboratory in Backweston, Celbridge, Co. Kildare.

After Ireland's entry into the European Economic Community in 1973 the focus of the Dairy Science Laboratories was on chemical testing for market support schemes, in particular butter, skimmed milk powder and casein. During the 1990s the emphasis shifted from chemical testing to food safety testing, with the adoption of Directive 92/46, which set down the hygiene requirements for the placing on the market of milk and milk products. In 2006, EU Directive 92/46 was replaced by the "Hygiene Package", including microbiological criteria for foodstuffs (Regulation 2073/2005). It includes methods of analysis and forms the basis of the Dairy Science Laboratories microbiological surveillance of milk and milk products.

Links to each of the laboratories scopes of accreditation are given below:

Dairy Science Laboratory Kildare 141T.pdf (516 KB)

Dairy Science Laboratory Cork - 254T.pdf (388 KB)

Dairy Science Laboratory Limerick - 248T.pdf (365 KB)


Services Provided



Each laboratory has a chemistry and microbiological section, testing milk and milk products.




Picture Dairy Products

Samples are taken by Department Inspectors from food business operators as part of the service contract with the FSAI, for Export Certification and for Market Support Schemes.


Products are tested for compliance with legislation and product certification to third countries:


  • Regulation 2073/2005 on Microbiological Criteria, as amended
  • Regulation 1774/2002 on Animal By Products, as amended 
  • Directive 2006/141/EC on infant formula and follow-on formula, as amended  
  • Regulation 273/2008 on Market Support Schemes
  • Directive 98/83/EC on the quality of water
  • Labelling and Nutritional Claims
  • Export Certification requirements

The laboratories do not provide a testing service for the public.




National Reference Laboratory


The Dairy Science Laboratory in Backweston operates as the National Reference Laboratory (NRL) for Listeria monocytogenes, coagulase positive Staphylococci in food products and Total Bacterial Count and Somatic Cells in raw milk. The role and functions of NRLs  are set out in Article 33 Regulation 882/2004.


Useful Links




-The Irish National Accreditation Board (INAB):

-Information from the European Commission on the hygiene package

-Bacteriological AnalyticalManual


Contact Us:  


  • Dairy Science Laboratory, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Backweston Campus, Young's Cross, Celbridge, Co. Kildare, Ireland.

         Tel: +353 1 615 7465

         Fax: +353 1 615 7454

  • Dairy Science Laboratory, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Model Farm Road, Cork, Ireland.

         Tel: +353 21 454 3300

         Fax: +353 21 454 3767

  • Dairy Science Laboratory, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Killeely Road, Thomondgate, Limerick, Ireland.

        Tel: +353 61 452 444

        Fax: +353 61 452 054