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NPE Contamination Pressures The Dairy Industry

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Nonylphenol exthoxylates (NPEs) are nonionic surfactants produced in large volumes and used in industrial processes, consumer laundry detergents, personal hygiene, automotive, latex paints and lawn care products.

NPE residues likely surface in dairy production through the cleaning solutions used in the facility. These residues have been found in low levels in raw milk but can become concentrated during milk processing.

European Union member states have agreed to ban NPE upon importation due to the rising concern that higher levels of NPE in dairy products can damage the endocrine system in babies. These countries are imposing limits on the parts per million of NPE residue allowable in dairy products.

Regulations on NPE levels are relatively new and have gone into effect within the last couple of years.

A rapid chemistry test is now available to determine the levels of NPE present in dairy products. Eurofins DQCI, the dairy division of Eurofins US Food, reported an influx of requests for NPE testing from dairy clients in late 2016 and Eurofins started testing for NPE in early 2017. The lab attributes the increased demand for NPE testing to exporting requirements. Exporting is a major source of income for dairy producers. 

"Many commercial testing labs in the US perform a High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) method but Eurofins DQCI is one of the few labs that offer a rapid ELISA assay at low cost to the client," said Mark Dilbeck, Associate Director, Eurofins DQCI.

NPE testing is only one of the many tests Eurofins performs on a variety of dairy products. Other tests include:

  • Chemistry Analyses
  • Custom Calibration Sets
  • Mastitis DNA/PCR
  • Milk Pregnancy Testing
  • Milk Microbiology Testing
  • Antibiotic Residue Testing
  • Heavy Metal Testing
  • Pesticide Residue Testing

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