Testing for adulteration can be time-consuming and expensive. The targeted models improve both these aspects by exploiting existing test equipment and infrastructure. The models are for MilkoScan™ 7, CombiFoss™ 7 and FT+ analysers which are already widely used by milk-testing centers around the globe for testing of raw milk quality. Up to 16 sources of potential adulteration are covered and test results are delivered within a minute.
The new models complement an existing un-targeted model that allows detection of any abnormalities in general. Accordingly, milk-testing centers can now screen for possible adulteration and then use the targeted tests to zoom-in on specific sources.
The sources might be due to deliberate or accidental contamination in the dairy supply chain. Examples include sodium hydroxide that can occur due to insufficient rinsing after cleaning of equipment or melamine added to increase the apparent protein content with the intention of gaining higher payment for milk deliveries.
Integrated into existing quality control systems
While milk is still sourced locally, it is also a growing part of international trade for which quality control standards such as ISO 22000, IFS Food Standard and hazard prevention concepts (HACCP) are essential. Currently, on a global level, milk is the second most commonly adulterated food (after olive oil). Rising consumer awareness and increased focus on healthy diet have further increased demands for safe and transparent food production supply chains.
Adulteration screening using MilkoScan technology opens up a cost-efficient method to align with food hazard control plans while benefitting all stakeholders in the supply chain. Farmers gain information about unintended sources of adulteration in production systems allowing preventative measures to improve quality and avoid financial penalties for sub-standard deliveries. For Dairies, the detection of possible adulteration is critical for quality of processed products and food safety associated labelling for consumers. For the laboratories doing the testing, the screening models provide an extension to food safety testing services without investment in additional instruments.
Practical solution exploiting existing infrared analytical technology
The screening tests are based on a powerful form of infrared analysis called Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) of which FOSS has been a pioneer for milk-testing purposes. The adulteration screening is done using the infrared spectrum involved in the FTIR test. Spectra from a sample are compared against a so-called infrared ‘spectral fingerprint’ for normal milk programmed into the instrument. A warning is given if a mismatch occurs and individual adulterants can be identified from their spectral signatures.
Christina Lindstorff, Global Head of Raw Milk Testing at FOSS said: “Screening can now be performed simultaneously with normal quality control checks, allowing it to be integrated into the well-established milk testing infrastructure with the aim of continuously raising the bar on milk quality with benefits across the supply chain.”