Making Goats Milk Soap Business Sustainable by Implementing Standard Manufacturing and Testing Protocols

2014 Annual Report for FNC14-942

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2014: $5,635.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2015
Grant Recipient: 444Farm
Region: North Central
State: South Dakota
Project Coordinator:

Making Goats Milk Soap Business Sustainable by Implementing Standard Manufacturing and Testing Protocols


The first 6 months of the grant period has been devoted especially to education and establishment of GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) and shelf-life/stability testing. 

This was immediately put to the test as between days 7 and 10, facial cream soap product again faced separation.  Consistently.  Groan.

The success of establishing GMP process prior to moving forward with challenge testing was:

  1. Identification of the problem early
  • I had assumed that I was ready for challenge testing and GMP was really an exercise in formalizing my processes and thereby making it reliably consistent.
  • If I had sent my samples in immediately before the “rot” stage was completed, and realized later that a change in formulation was needed, challenge testing would have been wasted and needed to be repeated on the new formulation
  1. Ability to troubleshoot the failure – Was it – Faulty ingredients? Faulty Recipe? Faulty process?
  • Faulty Ingredients? While establishing GMP, I had inventoried current supplies discarding old or unlabeled raw materials and also established guidelines for appearance and odor of raw ingredients at time of use leaving me confident that my ingredients were not substandard.
  • Faulty Recipe? This was a recipe that I had made previously with success but also failure (hence the reason for the grant).  The inclusion of honey as one of the ingredients had me question if it made it more prone to separation.  Reaching out to other soap makers, most used honey powder over raw honey and rarely saw issues with separation.
  • Faulty process – evaluating my master record I found two areas that could be considered – use of Phenolphthalein and frequency and duration of stirring during production and in days immediately post-production.  Initially, I was able to re-emulsify the batches until they no longer separated.
  • Approximately 6 months later, I am again facing separation. Not nearly as much, but am now certain that the formulation will need to be tweaked to address what I now believe is an issue with the use of honey.

In summary, the establishment of GMP practices around inventory, processes and logging has been very beneficial.  I was expecting to spend more time on the preservative challenge testing, but initially it was spent on stability and shelf-life testing.  It was important to do shelf-life testing to make sure formulations are rock solid.  I feel that this needs to be done before the challenge testing.  Because of the time spent on this, I am able to move forward with challenge testing with the body cream soap formulation but facial cream soap will need to be reformulated.

Objectives/Performance Targets

1. Create manufacturing and testing protocols.


  • Education on what GMP practices are in cosmetics
  • Creation/Implementation of Master Records, Batch Records, Raw Material Specifications, Inventory Logs
  • Attended Soap Conference

To Do: 

  • Create SOPs for specific equipment and standard procedures
  • Certification testing planned in March

2.  Evaluate natural vs man-made preservatives and overall product safety


  • Evaluation of natural and man-made preservatives
  • Understanding of impact pH has on need and efficacy of preservatives
  • Consulted with chemist whose expertise is cosmetic testing

To Do:

  • Challenge testing

3.  Manufacture consistent and safe batches of cream soaps

Completed:  Body Cream Soap

To Do:  Reformulate Facial Cream Soap

4.  Market the product testing and safety of the product.

  • Not started


1. Knowledge of GMP for cosmetics
2. Implementation of GMP
3. Understanding of preservatives in high pH formulations
4. Successful shelf-life and stability testing of Body Cream Soap
5. Unsuccessful shelf-life and stability testing of Facial Cream Soap (which in essence, is a success)

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

The logs from the GMP practices have been invaluable for trackability across all products for formulation tracking, inventory forecasting, and cure dates in addition to the troubleshooting for cream soaps.

It is also invaluable to understand the types of testing, how often to do the testing etc by working with the chemist directly.

The testing has slowed down the product release, but will increase the quality and marketability.

Addler gave a presentation on this project at the 2015 NCR-SARE Farmers Forum, held in conjunction with the Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society (NPSAS) Winter Conference. A video of this presentation is available online through NCR-SARE’s YouTube channel at:


Penny Adler
17620 444 Ave
Hazel, SD 57242
Office Phone: 6058816155
Jay Adler
17620 444 Ave
Hazel, SD 57242
Office Phone: 6058812324