Milk adulteration is a universal problem. According to the Consumer Guidance Society of India, out of the samples it tested across Indian states, only 21% met the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India’s standards. The report also says that raids are being held at illegal factories that produce adulterated milk and dairy products. In Kerala also some milk brands were banned due to adulteration. Is there a permanent solution to this?
‘AgNext Technologies’, an ag-tech (sustainable agricultural technology) startup based in Punjab, has come up with a solution. The startup invented a product based on Near-Infrared (NIR) spectroscopy that quickly evaluates milk quality. It will detect the presence of melamine, vegetable oil, maltodextrin, detergent, urea, starch, sugar and salt in the milk within 40 to 45 seconds. It will also measure the nutritional value of milk.
The startup claims that, compared to laboratory testing, milk samples can be tested quickly and efficiently with 99% accuracy using artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms. Thus, adulteration in milk can be prevented in advance.
This is an IoT-enabled, AI-based and battery-powered product. The data is transferred from a portable and lightweight device to the startup’s cloud-based SaaS platform ‘Qualix.’ Taranjeet Singh Bhamra, startup founder and CEO, says the device can be used in farms, milk storage facilities and warehouses. The startup data was compiled by collecting information about the milk supplied by individual farmers, cooperatives and villages every day.
It took the startup about two years to build and test the hardware and algorithm. The device can be charged even using a power bank. The device is connected to a mobile phone via Bluetooth. It’s connected to Cloud and AgNext systems. The weather-proof device is dust and water-resistant. The aim is to check milk quality in the shortest span, even if 50-100 dairy farmers arrive at a time. The average test time for various components in milk including fat is 30 to 35 seconds. It will take about 10 seconds to detect contamination. Currently, the startup has orders to deploy the technology in more than 5,000 locations across cooperatives, collection centres, chilling centres and milk processing multinational companies. Last year, more than 200 milk cooperatives in Punjab, West Bengal and Haryana started using the device.