Fonterra recognised for diagnostics test that helps to ensure a safe supply of milk


Leading multinational dairy company Fonterra has won the Innovation Excellence in Research award at the New Zealand Innovators Award for Milk Fingerprinting – a diagnostics test that helps to ensure a safe supply of milk.

Image credit: Fonterra
Image credit: Fonterra

Fonterra’s world-first Milk Fingerprinting is a new analytical technology that can rapidly measure milk samples and gather a unique fingerprint that can be used to cost-effectively guide tanker scheduling, milk processing decisions, and enable Fonterra to extract the maximum value from dairy farmers’ milk products.

Aside from ensuring a safe supply of milk, Milk Fingerprinting also reduces the time and cost of some tests by more than 99 per cent.

“Milk Fingerprinting means instead of some tests taking days or weeks we can test hundreds of samples in seconds, cutting processing times and cost. However, its benefits go far beyond ensuring a quality, safe supply of dairy nutrition,” said Fonterra Chief Science and Technology Officer Jeremy Hill.

“The composition of milk varies seasonally, and between farms and regions.  This means milk from one of our farms may be better-suited to one specific product rather than another. Milk Fingerprinting provides information about each farm’s milk so rapidly that when combined with our sophisticated tanker scheduling system, we can now send our milk to the manufacturing site that will get the most value out of every drop.”

According to the official news release, Fonterra invests more than NZ$90 million annually into research and development.

The development of the new technology was partially funded by Transforming the Dairy Value Chain – a Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme between the Ministry of Primary Industries, Fonterra and DairyNZ.

The aim of the programme is to create new products, increase on-farm productivity, reduce environmental impacts and improve agricultural education.