PerkinElmer device tackles milk powder adulteration

DairyGuardPerkinElmer has launched a  device for analysing milk powder designed to help food manufacturers prevent adulterated material entering the supply chain.

The DairyGuard is a near infrared (NIR) spectrometer claimed to be the only system available that tests for "unknown as well as known compounds, such as protein, moisture and fat content." PerkinElmer also says the device (pictured) features faster preparation and sampling times that yield real-time results,

The DairyGuard comes pre-configured with analytical profiles for milk powder - similar to a fingerprint - that eliminates the need for upfront instrument configuration and can tell whether a batch is safe to continue into manufacturing in less than a minute.

"Milk powder has been identified by many agencies as an ingredient with high risk for adulteration, creating a greater need for all food manufacturers to employ a reliable screening method," said Sharon Palmer, food director, PerkinElmer.

"To avoid food safety issues, such as the melamine incident in 2008, food manufacturers have to screen for not only known contaminants like pesticides and drug residues, but also unknown contaminants that might be unsafe substitutions," she added.

According to a 2010 A.T. Kearney study conducted for the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), the cost of one adulteration incident averages between 2 and 15 per cent of a company’s yearly revenues.

Milk product contamination hit the headlines again in the summer when New Zealand dairy cooperative Fonterra was forced to undertake a massive recall of whey protein concentrate (WPC) - destined for use in infant formula products that were exported to China and other countries - that was at risk of contamination with  the bacteria that causes botulism.

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