Revolutionizing Dairy Safety: The Role of FT-IR Spectroscopy

Fact checked by" Caroline Hroncich

A recent study looked at the use of Fourier-transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy in ensuring the safety and efficacy of dairy products.

According to a recent review article, Fourier-transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy has immense potential in ensuring the quality and safety of dairy products (1).

Ensuring the safety and quality of dairy products is becoming increasingly critical as global food supply chains interconnect and expand. As a result, analytical techniques are important in validating the safety of dairy products for consumers. Infrared (IR) spectroscopy is a technique that measures the absorption of various infrared frequencies by different substances (1,2). This method is particularly useful in the near and mid-IR regions for both qualitative and quantitative food analysis (1,2).

Assortment of dairy products | Image Credit: © Grafvision -

Assortment of dairy products | Image Credit: © Grafvision -

Kamal Gandhi from the Dairy Chemistry Division, ICAR, NDRI in Haryana, India, and team recently examined the advantages that FT-IR spectroscopy holds over traditional methods when it comes to assessing dairy product quality. In the review article, the authors highlight the technique’s high throughput speed, minimal sample preparation, ease of operation, and low variable costs (1).

Gandhi and the team examined numerous studies to write their piece, compiling 1685 records through Scopus, with 85 of these studies included in the final analysis (1). By looking through these studies, the research team was able to support their assertion that FT-IR spectroscopy is effective in detecting adulterants, contaminants, and toxins in various dairy products (1).

The studies the team compiled show that FT-IR spectroscopy has assessed many dairy products, including ghee, butter, cheese, yoghurt, milk powder, and whey products (1). The technology's rapid and sensitive detection capabilities are pivotal in identifying contaminants and predicting compositional changes (1). Several examples of this in action include identifying fraudulent practices in cheese and butter production, as well as determining ghee adulteration with mineral and coconut oils (1).

The review article also highlights the integration of chemometrics tools with FT-IR spectroscopy. Chemometrics allows for the extraction of both qualitative and quantitative information from FT-IR spectra, enhancing the ability to identify and quantify adulterants and contaminants with high precision (1).

The review delved into the technical aspects of FT-IR spectroscopy. Much focus was put on the evolution of IR spectrometers and the specific advantages of FT-IR technology (1). One key benefit is FT-IR's ability to simultaneously capture spectrum data, which increases efficiency and accuracy in analysis. This high-resolution approach is cost-effective and meets the growing demand for detailed and reliable food safety assessments (1).

For the dairy industry, the application of FT-IR spectroscopy can significantly enhance the monitoring and verification processes, ensuring that products meet safety and quality standards (1). Researchers are encouraged to explore new possibilities in food adulteration detection, leveraging FT-IR's capabilities to develop innovative solutions for emerging challenges in food safety (1).

As a result, the authors team reinforced the idea that FT-IR spectroscopy is the best technique in analyzing dairy products. Its reliability, ease of maintenance, and adaptability for routine analysis make it a cornerstone technology for safeguarding the integrity of dairy products globally (1).

By offering a clear and comprehensive overview of FT-IR's applications, this review serves as a valuable resource for advancing the detection and prevention of food adulteration. It highlights the need for continued innovation and collaboration between industry and academia to protect the global food supply and promote consumer well-being.


(1) Saji, R.; Ramani, A.; Gandhi, K.; et al. Application of FTIR Spectroscopy in Dairy Products: A Systematic Review. Food and Humanity 2024, 2, 100239. DOI: 10.1016/j.foohum.2024.100239

(2) Borba, A.; Gomez-Zavaglia, A. Infrared Spectroscopy: An Underexploited Analytical Tool for Assessing Physicochemical Properties of Food Products and Processing. Curr. Opinion Food Sci. 2023, 49, 100953. DOI: 10.1016/j.cofs.2022.100953

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