FOSS market manager, Dorthe Bisgard Oldrup, told DairyReporter.com that the ongoing horse meat scandal has prompted the European dairy industry to think more about the screening of milk products for abnormalities.
Earlier this year, significant levels of undeclared horse meat were found in some food products advertised as containing beef. The issue first came to light In January 2013 when it was reported that horse DNA had been discovered in frozen beef burgers sold in several British and Irish supermarkets.
According to Oldrup, the traditionally “stubborn” European dairy sector has opened its mind to the dangers of adulteration as a direct result of the issue.
Adulteration “like doping in sport”
“The horse meat scandal really opened the eyes of dairy processors," said Oldrup. "They have started to think more about screening milk for abnormalities."
"We have received a lot more requests about adulteration screening from European dairy processors since the horse meat scandal began,” she said. “This is interesting because Europe has traditionally been quite stubborn, whereas we have always had a lot of questions about adulteration from dairy processors in Asia and South America.”
“Dairy processors in Europe are starting to think more about the quality of their end products,” she said.
The cross-border sale of raw milk has furthered this cautiousness among dairy processors in Europe, said Oldrup.
“One thing that has become more and more of an issue is that some dairy processors have no idea where their raw materials are coming from,” she said.
“When dairy processors sourced their milk locally it was much easier to monitor. With more cross-border sales it is more important to measure quality at each step of the supply chain.”
“It is not possible to pinpoint every possible adulterant because the adulterants used will change as long as there are opportunities for economic gain. It is like doping in sport,” said Oldrup. “But we can screen for abnormalities. We can see if there is anything wrong at each step of the supply chain.”
Asian supply chain testing "still to come"
According to Oldrup, quality testing throughout the supply chain has been practiced by European dairy processors for years.
However, in economically emerging nations such as China and India, quality testing from 'farm to fork' is very much in its infancy, she added.
“Focus on product quality testing in the BRIC countries is growing. Improving the quality of dairy products has become a big area of focus for dairy processors in these countries.”
“In Europe, they monitor everything. In Asia that is all still to come," said Oldrup.