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Raw milk screening - and how it can prevent nasty surprises in dairy products

Milk Truck
By Richard Mills
Ready-to-use screening models for the MilkoScan ™ FT1 analyser make raw milk screening quicker and more accessible.

New, ready-to-use screening models for the MilkoScan™ FT1 analyser now make raw milk screening quicker and more accessible. The so-called, ‘targeted’ models check for the presence of specific economic adulterants while the ‘untargeted’ models check for any spectral abnormalities. The models can give dairy producers extra confidence by adding an extra dimension to standard quality tests.

Raw milk is the basis of most dairy products and controlling the quality from the incoming tankers is an essential part of process and quality control towards the final product. The value of the traditional compositional analysis is indisputable, but another quality aspect which is largely underestimated, is the ability to spot samples which in one way or another deviate from normality. Such samples can be extremely harmful and costly in terms of food safety or wasted production.

The raw milk may suffer from dilution or contamination from chemicals added either intentionally or accidentally, for example, resulting from animal feed or from contamination of the tanker. The impurities may be well masked. Everything else in the sample, even including taste, may be normal, but in the late production stages the impurity shows up as a nasty surprise such as a chemical taint or even a serious food safety risk.

As experienced dairy producers know, the vast majority of incoming milk is absolutely normal. Even so, those few problematic samples still need to be caught. To be absolutely sure, it would be necessary to test every sample to catch the few really important ones. However, subjecting all incoming milk samples to a comprehensive diagnostic investigation is both costly and laborious.

The global ready-to-use models for the MilkoScan FT1 now offer a quick and practical solution based on a well known hardware platform already in use around the world. In 30 seconds, users can screen for an array of specific well-known adulterants and in addition screen for any unknowns which appear as deviations from normal raw milk samples. The models provide a unique screening tool for identification of samples which need further investigation, and brings dairy production to another safety level.

MilkoScan FT1

Ready-to-use screening models for the MilkoScan™ FT1 analyser now make raw milk- screening quicker and more accessible.


Untargeted models
An untargeted model can be used to screen for abnormalities in the raw milk. Milk samples can be abnormal due to many different reasons. The more serious of these is deliberate adulteration, where different substances are purposely added to the milk to increase quantity and thereby payment. Also, accidental adulteration where for example, cleaning agent is mixed with the milk could be a cause. When screening for adulterants the challenge is of course that whilst some adulterants are known to us, new ones may not be. Therefore, the strength of this untargeted model is that it will react to any spectral abnormalities, known or unknown, in a milk sample.

A sample of milk is tested against a profile for normal milk. A warning is given if there is a mismatch. This alerts you to the need for further investigations to determine the nature of the abnormality.

 
Targeted models
Targeted models can be used as an auxiliary tool to quantify the content of Hydroxyproline, Sodium Nitrite, Melamine, Maltodextrine and Cyanuric acid added to milk.
 
The targeted model is a conventional calibration used to predict the concentration of Hydroxyproline, Sodium Nitrite, Melamine, Maltodextrine and Cyanuric acid in milk from the FT-IR spectrum of the sample. Due to the nature of a targeted model it can only predict the concentration of the adulterant for which it was developed. If there is a need to monitor for several adulterants, specific targeted models will have to be used for each of these.
 

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