Carry out cheese piercing operations

Business Sectors (Suites): Dairy
Developed by: Improve
Approved on: 30 Mar 2023


This standard covers the skills and knowledge needed for you to carry out cheese piercing operations in food and drink manufacture and/or supply operations. Cheese piercing equipment is used in the production of a wide range of mould ripened cheese. Knowing how to carry out cheese piercing operations is important to the production of a final product that adheres to regulatory food safety and  organisational quality and yield specifications. It is important to the production of a number of cheese related products where cheese piercing operations are an important step in the process to add value or preserve the cheese in a particular way.

You will need to know how to prepare equipment needed to carry out cheese piercing operations. You must also know how to address problems, work within the limits of your responsibility and adhere to regulatory standards and standard operating procedures. You must be able to apply your skills and knowledge within food safety regulations and any relevant international industry codes especially when referring to HACCP, TACCP and VACCP.

This standard is for you if you work in food and drink manufacture and/or supply operations and are involved in controlling dairy processing equipment.

Performance criteria

You must be able to:

1. use the correct personal protective equipment
2. check the product specification and equipment standard operating procedures
3. check that necessary tools, equipment and resources are available and fit for use
4. prepare cheese product requiring piercing
5. control piercing of cheese adhering to product specification and equipment standard operating procedures
6. maintain pace of production
7. make pierced cheese available for the next stage of processing or storage
8. establish and maintain effective spoken, written and electronic communication with relevant people
9. take representative samples for testing adhering to organisational sampling plan within the limits of your responsibility
10. complete the necessary documentation and process to organisational requirements

Knowledge and Understanding

You need to know and understand:

1. the food safety aspects of the production of pierced cheeses including HACCP, TACCP and VACCP
2. the regulatory and organisational requirements relating to the piercing of cheese by hand and mechanically
3. how to source the tools, equipment, facilities and resources needed to pierce cheese by hand and mechanically
4. the personal protective equipment needed when piercing cheese and why it is important to use it
5. why it is important to maintain pace of production when piercing cheese
6. how to access organisational specifications relating to piercing cheese by hand and mechanically
7. the importance of adhering to quality specifications and to organisational and customer requirements when piercing cheese by hand and mechanically
8. the action to be taken if quality checks do not meet product specification
9. how to work within the limits of your authority and take action to address problems
10. how to source cheeses which are ready for cheese piercing operations
11. the importance of a clean and hygienic work area when carrying out cheese piercing operations
12. the quality of the cheese as it ripens and matures
13. the selection principles and when mould ripened cheese is ready for sale
14. How the manufacture process and support operations  use digital technologies rather than paper based systems to monitor and control production


Scope Performance

Scope Knowledge





Links To Other NOS

External Links

Version Number


Indicative Review Date

30 Mar 2028





Originating Organisation


Original URN


Relevant Occupations

Food Preparation Trades, Manufacturing Technologies, Process Operatives, Process, Plant and Machine Operatives

SOC Code



Dairy; cheese; piercing; food; drink; yield; preserve