Flow cytometry testing has long been used in fresh dairy but Fonterra says it has achieved a world-first in adapting the technology to test milk powder, giving it a faster and more accurate method for quality control. "This technology will allow us to monitor and adjust production runs far faster, resulting in better quality product and significant manufacturing and testing efficiencies," said Jeremy Hill, Fonterra's general manager of manufacturing innovation. Traditionally, samples would be taken and sent to a laboratory for testing - a manual process that takes several days. The faster testing technology will help gather product quality information during the production process, not just at the end when product is about to be packed, allowing close to real-time monitoring of milk powder production and tighter control over manufacturing. Flow cytometry works by examining microscopic particles suspended in a stream of fluid. A beam of light is directed onto the fluid and a number of detectors used to monitor the refracted light. While other rapid methods do exist, they do not provide the same level of reliability, said Fonterra.