Fonterra develop cheaper, faster milk testing

Published 23 October 15

Milk fingerprinting technology is on its way. The technology can measure the composition of milk by light analysis, cutting testing costs by more than 99 percent and providing results significantly quicker than current testing methods.

Fonterra has developed the technology and recently won the Innovation Excellence in Research award for their Milk Fingerprinting. The test covers a range of different milk components, including lactose, butterfat and protein. The speed of the test allows them to gain results from hundreds of samples in seconds, rather than waiting days for results to come through.

As well as giving improved quality assurance, the test is so quick, Fonterra will be able to route milk into specific markets to maximise returns. The technology uses basic ‘off-the-shelf’ hardware from Danish company, Foss. Fonterra has extended its application to suit their own requirements. Unfortunately, Fonterra has no plans to sell their IP into other countries or companies at this stage.

Having such technology in the UK market could bring a step-change approach to optimising milk returns. Milk could be segregated at depot to ensure the right milk goes to the right processing site. It could also help manufacturers to optimise their own processes based on the composition of milk they have received.