AFL to Increase Testing for Milk Quality, Safety

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The University of Guelph’s Agriculture and Food Laboratory (AFL) has long been the “purity checkpoint” for Ontario, at least when it comes to the safety and quality of its milk supply.

Now it’s going to be playing a even more significant role, performing an increased number of testing services for Ontario’s dairy producers and processors.

This is due to a  recent change in the administration of the milk testing program within the partnership between U of G and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, as well as agreements with the Dairy Farmers of Ontario and the Ontario Dairy Council.

AFL will be testing about four times the number of milk samples each year — nearly 900,000. The laboratory has been testing the nutritional composition of the milk produced in the province for the past 40 years. It was awarded the contract for additional testing following a competitive bid process.

“Guelph is home to world-class dairy testing facilities, and being awarded this contract is affirmation of this fact,” said Rich Moccia, U of G associate vice president (research).

“We are proud of our reputation for providing accurate, efficient services that help ensure both the safety and quality of Ontario’s food supply.”

Compositional testing involves using infrared spectroscopy to measure the amount of fat, protein, lactose and other solids. The increased number of tests provides more frequent analytical results to the more than 4,000  dairy producers in Ontario. These rapid results allow producers to take immediate action and more closely manage the health and production of their herds.

Additional regulatory testing will also be performed for milk quality. Samples are tested for antibiotic residue, bacteria and other potential contaminants to help ensure that the dairy products sold in Ontario meet rigorous food safety standards.