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MILKNET, TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPED IN ITALY TO ENSURE MILK SAFETY
Technology at the service of food quality and safety, and entirely produced in Italy: the project is known as Milknet, a system which guarantees production of totally safe, high quality milk. It achieves this result by using a form of remote diagnosis, able to monitor the quality and safety of milk minute by minute and not just at the end of the production chain. The system has been named Best, and it carries a certificate from the National Institute of Health, as well as approval by the Department of Veterinary Public Health and Food Safety and by the Institute for the Study of Nanostructured Materials of the National Research Council.
The technology underlying the Milknet system involves the application of nanometric bio probes at various stages of the production process. These sensors are able to reveal any possible exposure to toxic substances and changes in the animalsâ state of health or nutritional intake, immediately notifying the farmers and producers involved via a wireless network. The system permits a faster, more modern and more efficient means of managing and organizing the market for milk from dairy herds. In addition, it allows a better use of those resources put aside for testing, and reduces losses due to âalarms and accidentsâ. The aim is to advertise the goodness of the primary product, in addition to promoting the whole Italian dairy industry and its capacity for day-to-day traceability: important factors in an increasingly global marketplace.
The Best system functions as an integrated technological platform comprising both hardware and software. The system is completely automated and eco-friendly, and equipped with a cutting-edge diagnostic method which makes use of nanometric bio probes. These enable it to produce a particular âfingerprintâ based on the data obtained from the milk during the entire production process, acquired in real time, concurrently and on a daily basis. The criteria include chemical elements, and physical and biological chemicals associated with the presence of contaminants (chemical and microbial). They also refer to quality (composition, health and metabolic indicators), to biodiversity, to environmental standards, to good husbandry (nutrition, health and wellbeing of livestock), and to systems of production. In the sales programme developed by Milknet, Best can also be used online by livestock workers, allowing for a sharing of data and a rapid check on any anomalies.
This successful and highly innovative idea will work mainly for the benefit of consumers. Indeed, it will make it easier to carry out the testing procedures demanded by national regulations governing food safety since companies will be provided with systems designed to enable risk prevention (as required by the European âHygiene Packageâ of 2004, for example). In addition, all those very same industries which form part of the whole dairy sector will also benefit, ranging from milk producers to those in the processing industry. It will also profit the satellite markets associated with livestock (manufacturers of animal feeds or milking machines) which will have the advantage of rapid feedback and the stimulus towards innovation.