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

 

Future Brighter Money: RBNZ Releases New Bank Note Designs

New Zealand’s banknotes are getting brighter and better, with the Reserve Bank today unveiling more vibrant and secure banknote designs which will progressively enter circulation later next year. More>>

ALSO:

Commerce: Supermarket Inquiry Finds No Breaches By Countdown

The Commerce Commission inquiry into anti-competitive behaviour by Countdown supermarkets, alleged by former Labour Party MP Shane Jones, has found nothing to warrant prosecution, although it warns supermarkets to take care in the way they communicate... More>>

ALSO:

Crown Accounts: English Flags ‘Challenge’ To Budget Surplus

Finance Minister Bill English is warning next month’s half yearly fiscal and economic update from the Treasury may not forecast a budget surplus, saying that returning the government’s accounts to surplus in 2015 will be “a challenge”, given the decline in commodity prices and weak global inflation. More>>

ALSO:

March 2015: Netflix To Launch In Australia And New Zealand

World’s Leading Internet Television Network to Offer Original Series, Movies, Documentaries, Stand-Up Comedy Specials and TV Shows for Low Monthly Price More>>

ALSO:

Price Of Cheese (Is Up): Dairy Product Prices Fall To Five-Year Low

Dairy product prices fell in the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction to the lowest level in more than five years, led by declines in rennet casein and skim milk powder. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Australians Scoring Trade Points Against Us With The Chinese

It hasn’t been a great year for Trade Minister Tim Groser... To top it off, Australia has just signed a FTA with China that has far better provisions on dairy exports than what New Zealand currently enjoys in our own FTA with China. More>>

ALSO:

Iwi & Local Consultation: Oil And Gas Block Offer 2015 Begins

Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges today announced the start of the Block Offer 2015 process for awarding oil and gas exploration permits. More>>

Industrial Action: Stats NZ Throwing Public Money Away Duplicating Data

The Public Service Association (PSA) says Statistics NZ are throwing money away by collecting the same data twice for official statistics such as the Consumer Price Index... As part of the ongoing industrial action, field interviewers who are PSA members are continuing to collect data, but are not sending it through to Statistics NZ. More>>

ALSO:

Other Stats:

Space: Rosetta's 'Philae' Makes Historic First Landing On A Comet

After more than a decade traveling through space, a robotic lander built by the European Space Agency has made the first-ever soft landing of a spacecraft on a comet. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news