Engineers from the Danish company Foss – a leading provider of solutions for the production of agricultural food products – have developed a scanner which reveals milk fraud by dairy farmers in India.
The scanner, named Milkoscan, costs one tenth of previous models and can help tackle the widespread problem of diluted milk being sold by dairy farmers in India.
“We have known for many years that there is a huge market in India, but until now the technology has been too expensive,” Henrik Juhl, a chemical engineer with Foss, told Ingeniøren newspaper.
Diluted and even toxic milk is a massive problem in India where dairy farmers mix their milk with anything from water, sugar and vegetable oil to fertiliser and uric acid, in order to make more profits. Buffalo milk with eight percent fat is often diluted to half the fat percentage in this manner.
Unaffordable until now
Testing the quality of the milk in India has long been an issue, but with 120,000 pick-up points spread across the country, it’s been difficult for regions to invest in modern analysis apparatuses.
“One thing is that the consumers don’t get the goods that they pay for, but another thing is that in many cases, the milk becomes detrimental to the consumers' health,” Juhl said, comparing the issue to the milk powder in China in 2008 where six babies died and over 50,000 were hospitalised because melamine was added to their formula.
The scanner functions by sending infrared light through the milk sample, measuring how the chemical bonds in the milk absorb the light at various wavelengths. In less than 40 seconds a chemical imprint of the milk is obtained, showing if it is pure or if it has been diluted.
The scanner was launched in India just before the summer period this year.