Milk finger-printing detects contaminants to lift safety standards

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Raw milk

Improved safety standards plus easy and cost-effective up-take are the benefits claimed for the new “finger printing” software that allows MilkoScan analysers to detect the presence of contaminants in raw milk.

The soft ware allows central milk testing laboratories and large-scale dairies to finger print milk from their catchment area​,” Richard Mills, Foss’s international press contact, told “Having established the finger print for local milk supplies, the software rapidly detects the presence of contaminants in raw milk which leads the sample to have a different finger print​.”

Although the software cannot determine the nature of the contaminant, it can alert operators to their presence within one minute, he added. . The suspect sample can then be analysed further to determine the identity of the contaminant.

Intentional adulterations

It can detect almost an infinite range of contaminants from accidental sources such as cleaning agents to intentional adulterations with melamine or lard, intended to increase milk’s fat content, water, to lift its volume, or even the mixing of different samples of uncontaminated milk​ (from two or more regions),” said Mills.

The software, which allows fuller screening of raw milk samples as a part of existing routine testing for quality and payment, is based on Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) technology. It is provided as part of the Foss Integrator software supporting FOSS dairy analytical solutions.

The system works by monitoring the results of analysis performed using infrared spectroscopy. Studied from the perspective of spectroscopic analysis, natural raw milk has a particular spectrum or a unique fingerprint. This allows infrared spectroscopy analysers to be programmed to recognise the spectra or fingerprint of normal milk. A warning is then given when samples do not match the fingerprint.

Growing problem

Milk contamination is becoming more widespread, according to the company. “Raw milk containing abnormalities is a growing problem​,” it said in a statement. “The abnormalities can be caused by deliberate adulteration, for example, with lard or melamine or by accidents, for example, if milk from cows and buffalo are mixed​.”

Foss expects the uptake of this technology to be rapid and easy since many MilkoScan analysers are used already around the world.

The company’s dairy market manager, Dorthe Bisgaard said: “The screening approach is a powerful tool in tackling milk adulteration, whether this occurs by accident or on purpose. With this screening option, quality assurance people can quickly check for many different types of adulteration and with no extra time or cost per routine test​.”

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