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News Release

Protein measurement standard expanded for greater consumer protection and harmonized trade

10 February 2014 IDF (International Dairy Federation)

IDF and ISO have joined forces to expand the scope of an international standard used worldwide in the dairy industry to measure the protein content of cow's milk. The Kjeldahl method* now encompasses milk from other species as well as internationally traded dairy products covered by Codex standards. The revised Standard reconfirms the crucial role of the Kjeldahl method in trade harmonization and enhances consumer protection safeguards.

Pivotal role in trade

The Kjeldahl method plays a pivotal role in national and international trade, for example in calculating fair milk payments for dairy farmers, controlling manufacturing processes and in checking regulatory compliance.

"This standard is about the determination of one of the major components in milk and many milk products, in fact the component that accounts for over 50% of the market value of milk," Dr. Harrie van den Bijgaart, Chair of the ISO Technical Committee on Milk and Milk Products explained.

This, combined with the fact that international collaborative studies of the method had been conducted for liquid bovine whole milk only thus far, illustrated the need to validate the method for products other than bovine whole milk.

"IDF and ISO experts have now successfully modified and scientifically validated the method so that it applies to a wide range of dairy products. In addition to liquid bovine whole milk, the method can now be applied to bovine milk with reduced fat content, goat whole milk, sheep whole milk, cheese, dried milk and dried milk products including milk-based infant formulae, milk protein concentrate, whey protein concentrate, casein and caseinate," Dr. Jaap Evers, Chair of the IDF Methods Standards Steering Group explained.

"The validation of this method for more products will also provide better guarantees to consumers that the labelled content of milk products was determined with globally standardized methodology," Dr. van den Bijgaart added.

Greater harmonization around the world

The global impact of IDF/ISO analytical methods is illustrated by the fact that many of these methods are referenced in national and regional regulations, and that over 60 have been adopted by the Codex Alimentarius. These methods have become the international references for the testing of milk and dairy products.

"The next step is to submit the revised Kjeldahl method for endorsement to Codex Alimentarius. One of the major benefits of international adoption of the revised method is that it will result in greater harmonization of protein analysis across the globe, thereby minimizing the risk of trade disputes resulting from differences in analytical test results", continues Dr. Evers.

"Given the increasing global demand for milk and milk products, standardization is ever more important to ensure food safety, food quality and fairness in international trade. This enhances harmonization and avoids duplication of work, increasing efficiency and simplifying matters for the end user."

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