Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Science Helps to Foil Trade in Imitation Milk Powder


MEDIA RELEASE from GNS Science

13 NOVEMBER 2012

Science Helps to Foil Trade in Imitation Milk Powder

New Zealand scientists have come up with an ingenious way to help identify fake milk powder being sold as a New Zealand product in overseas markets.

New Zealand exports about $2 billion worth of milk products to China each year, and a recent rise in imitation, and sometimes dangerous, dairy products in China has increased the importance of protecting the New Zealand brand.

Scientists at the University of Otago and GNS Science have completed preliminary work showing they can read milk powder’s geographical identification.

The scientists make use of the fact that New Zealand’s rainfall has a distinctive natural isotope signature that passes through pasture and into milk products. The two kinds of hydrogen atoms – or isotopes – naturally present in rainfall capture whether the rain fell in a warm or cold climate.

The ability to measure hydrogen isotopes in rainfall and biological materials, such as milk, has been advancing rapidly in the past decade.

Troy Baisden, of GNS Science, said progress was made possible by having the ability to look at the hydrogen isotopes in rainfall from each storm during the growing season when the milk is produced.

“We work with monthly rainfall samples from all over New Zealand. We turn information derived from these samples into a map of daily rainfall chemistry using climate data from NIWA,” Dr Baisden said.

Otago University PhD student Emad Ehtesham carried out the research on the milk powder.

The technique involves using mass spectrometry in the University’s Chemistry Department to measure the ratio of the two hydrogen isotopes of bulk milk powder, or individual fatty acid compounds.

Associate Professor Russell Frew, of Otago University, said the technique opened the possibility of verifying the origin of the milk component of mixtures such as infant formula. Products such as butter and cheese might also be ideal applications for the technique.

The use of similar technology to verify the origin of whole foods was well established, Dr Frew said.

“The major advance here is that we are able to link the milk data to the rainfall map and hence use this to identify the origin of the commodity.”

Dr Baisden said the proof-of-concept work was very promising and was being developed further.

“We can also apply this type of science to other important problems, such as where insects and other biological material breaching New Zealand’s biosecurity have come from.”

The project to collect rainfall samples from all over the country was funded by the Government through Biosecurity New Zealand. Milk product samples were analysed at the University of Otago and maps made at GNS Science.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Scoop Business: NZ Dollar Catches Breath After "Goldilocks" Slump

The New Zealand dollar edged up following its dramatic slump yesterday after the Reserve Bank confirmed speculation it intervened in the currency market last month and PM John Key suggested a “Goldilocks” level far lower than at present. More>>

ALSO:

Biosecurity: Kiwifruit Claim To Hold Officials Accountable For Psa

Kiwifruit growers have joined forces to hold Biosecurity NZ accountable in the courts for its negligence in allowing 2010’s Psa outbreak that devastated New Zealand’s kiwifruit industry and exports. Foundation claimants representing well ... More>>

ALSO:

Poison: Anglers Advised Not To Eat Trout In 1080 Areas

With the fishing season opening in just a few days (1 October 2014), anglers are being warned by the Department of Conservation(DOC) not to eat trout from pristine backcountry waters and their downstream catchments, where the department is conducting 1080 poisoning operations. More>>.

ALSO:

Quotas: MPI Swoop On Suspected Fraudulent Fishing Activity

Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) compliance officers swooped on a Hawkes Bay fishing enterprise today to secure evidence in an investigation into suspected fraudulent activity... “The investigation involves activity throughout the commercial supply chain – catching, landing, processing and exporting.” More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Fonterra Slashes 2015 Milk Payout, Earnings Tumble 76%

Fonterra Cooperative Group cut its forecast 2015 milk price payout by about 12 percent, citing weaker global dairy prices and said there is a risk of further declines given strong global milk production. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: RBNZ Keeps OCR At 3.5%, Signals Slower Pace Of Future Hikes

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler kept the official cash rate at 3.5 percent and signalled he won’t be as aggressive with future rate hikes as previously thought as inflation remains tamer than expected. The kiwi dollar fell to a seven-month low. More>>

ALSO:

Weather: Dry Spells Take Hold In South Island

Many areas in the South Island are tracking towards record dry spells as relatively warm, dry weather that began in mid-August continues... for some South Island places, the current period of fine weather is quite rare. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Computer Power Plus

Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand

Mosh Social Media
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news