Teagasc infant quality milk research to the fore

The importance of milk quality for the infant milk formula industry should not be underestimated.

This is according to Mark Fenelon of Teagasc Moorepark, who is speaking at the Teagasc Moorepark Milk Quality Conference in Tipperary this morning.

Courtesy of his presentation, Fenelon noted high-quality standards are key for this market.

“A primary objective of any infant formula manufacturer is to produce products that adhere to the highest quality standards. Since dairy-based ingredients are used in most infant formulations, the overall quality of the milk from which these ingredients are derived is of significant importance.”

He continued: “From the perspective of the infant formula manufacturer, quality embraces compositional variations, microbiology, residues and contaminants as they affect not alone milk but also milk ingredients such as skim and whey powders.”

The quality of nutrients in milk is a key determinant of the physical stability of infant formulations throughout processing, he added.

“Particularly milk protein as it has a dual role in that it forms a nutritional base and is also responsible for giving colloidal stability throughout processing.”

He said proteins are key emulsifiers and their interactions with minerals largely control thermal stability of formulations.

“There are multiple parameters to be realised while identifying the quality attributes needed for selection of milk for manufacturing infant formula and these include preservation of key nutritional benefits of the vulnerable neonate and ensuring optimised physical stability in both liquid concentrate and finished powder, for example viscosity,” Fenelon added.

The conference heard that additional studies are currently being carried out at Teagasc in Moorepark on the effects of animal nutrition and milk composition quality on the functionality of milk for use in infant formula, where results will be made shortly.

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