New dairy standard will improve accuracy of milk tests

Published on: Sep 23, 2013

Joint work between ISO and the International Dairy Federation (IDF) has resulted in an important update of a key analytical standard for the global dairy sector, IDF announced Sept. 23.

ISO 9622|IDF 141* contains guidelines for the testing of milk and milk products with mid-infrared instruments. These instruments are extensively used in laboratories and dairy plants worldwide.

The new version now also fully covers the use of Fourier Transform InfraRed (FTIR) technology, which improves the routine compositional analysis of milk, according to Paul Sauve and Harrie van den Bijgaart, two experts involved in the standard's development.

"FTIR analyzers measure the full mid-infrared spectrum whereas the description in the old standard was limited to traditional wavelengths," explained Sauve, an expert at the IDF. "This means we can be more accurate with fat and protein measurements and test for more components such as urea and added water."

This increased accuracy is important for products intended for export and trade and will help set pricing in milk payment schemes, as milk prices vary depending on the fat and protein contents, added van den Bijgaart, chair of the ISO committee that developed the standard.

In addition, the fact that multiple parameters can be measured at the same time reduces costs in testing laboratories.

IDF and ISO have been working together for many years to develop and publish standard methods of analysis and sampling for milk and other dairy products, the announcement said.

"Joint international standards are important to prevent duplication of work in the development of standards and to avoid incongruences. That is all what standardization is about, reaching consensus between stakeholders in the broadest sense and documenting it," van den Bijgaart said.