Becoming A Registered Dairy Inspector


Having a valid California Registered Dairy Inspector (RDI) License is the first requirement to work as an Environmental Scientist for the Milk and Dairy Food Safety Branch. For the current salary range for an Environmental Scientist please see the CalCareers website. This license is required by state law for persons conducting regulatory inspections of dairy farms and milk processing plants.

RDI License Exam Qualifications:

A person is eligible to take the RDI license examination if the person possesses one of the following qualifications:

  • Graduation from a four-year college with specialization in studies which related to dairy farms, milk and milk products, the food sciences, or animal science.
  • Graduation from a veterinary college of recognized standing at the time of graduation and at least one year of experience in the production, processing, or inspection of milk or milk products.
  • Employed as a registered sanitarian in the state of California for at least two years immediately prior to applying for the certification examination and possesses a bachelor's degree.

The examination shall be both written and oral. A certificate as a registered dairy inspector shall be issued to any person who passes the examination. No person shall be eligible for the examination or any employment as a dairy inspector by an approved milk inspection service, unless he is certificated pursuant to the provisions of this section. Such certification shall be valid for four years after a person discontinues his employment as a registered dairy inspector or a registered sanitarian.

A limited milk inspection certificate may be issued to any registered sanitarian employed by any city or county health department who will be employed in connection with an approved milk inspection service. A person holding the certificate shall have full authority to enforce all provisions of this code if this authority is restricted to the inspection and sampling of market milk products in retail outlets and in the inspection of retail establishments licensed where an approved milk inspection service has jurisdiction. The limited milk inspection certificate shall be issued following the completion of a certification course that has been approved by the director. This limited milk inspection certificate shall expire upon the termination of employment as a registered sanitarian by the individual or at any time an approved milk inspection service has been terminated. Fees for the application shall not exceed ten dollars ($10) and the RDI examination fee shall not exceed thirty dollars ($30). (Refer California Food & Agriculture Code, sections 33111-33121 et al)


The examination is given twice a year, on the last Friday of January and on the last Friday of July, with the final filing date fifteen (15) days prior to each examination. Locations for the examination are Modesto, Fresno, Ontario, and Sacramento.

For Additional Information:

E-mail the testing coordinator with your name, address, and daytime (Pacific) telephone number.

California Department of Food and Agriculture
Animal Health and Food Safety Services, Milk and Dairy Food Safety Branch
1220 N Street
Sacramento, California 95814
Telephone: (916) 900-5008
Fax: (916) 900-5337
or send an email to: