Dairy Foods Article: “Making the most of lab testing equipment for dairies”

Waiting for test results can slow down dairy processing. Faster testing methods cut wait time from minutes to seconds. In-line analyzers deliver information in real time.

August 11, 2014

Speed, accuracy and consistency are three metrics that managers of dairy processing plants should be measuring. An on-site dairy laboratory can play an important role in achieving high values in each of those metrics. Fast and accurate results contribute to food safety and manufacturing efficiency. Testing of raw ingredients and finished product helps a dairy processor achieve consistency in taste, texture and color.

Many dairy processors do their own testing in on-site labs and others use third-party laboratories. Some do both. The trend is to bring more testing in-house, said Megan Roush, a market development manager for Neogen Corp., Lansing, Mich., one of several testing suppliers interviewed for this article by Dairy Foods.

Two advantages of on-site labs are cost savings and shortened time to receive results, she said. A fast lab can even reduce real estate requirements because by receiving test results quickly, a processor needs less warehouse space to hold product, she noted.

Dean E. Roberts of Bruker Optics, Madison, Wis., said “the most significant advantage” to an on-site lab “is the ability to use near real-time results to control individual unit operations within the plant. This leads to better product consistency and the ability to operate closer to USDA specifications, where applicable.”

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