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AB SCIEX responds to milk contamination concerns with new method to detect dicyandiamide
AB SCIEX released a new testing method for laboratories to screen for and quantify dicyandiamide — known as DCD — in dairy products and other protein-rich foods.  Government regulators and food manufacturers continue to monitor the milk supply globally, utilizing advanced analytical technologies to help ensure food & beverage safety. 

The new method from AB SCIEX to test for DCD is designed to increase the accuracy and reduce the amount of time to identify dicyandiamide and other nitrogen-rich compounds from hours to just minutes, with limits of quantitation down to low µg/kg.  AB SCIEX's new method is an efficient and highly sensitive method available for virtually any laboratory to use.

“AB SCIEX is a scientific resource for the food & beverage testing communities around the world,” said Vincent Paez, Senior Director of Food & Environmental at AB SCIEX. “We aim to equip scientists and lab technicians with easy-to-use methods that can be implemented quickly and effectively used to prevent the escalation of a food contamination crisis. Food testing laboratories are always vigilant about the next contamination outbreak, and they require technological tools from companies such as AB SCIEX.”

This new method is based on LC/MS/MS (liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry), an analytical technique that has become the industry standard for improving food safety analysis.  To achieve high levels of sensitivity and selectivity for the most accurate results, AB SCIEX scientists used an Eksigent ekspert™ ultraLC 100 System, a Phenomenex HPLC column and AB SCIEX QTRAP® 5500 technology, applying a simple extraction-dilution approach that minimizes sample preparation and saves time and money.

This method is relevant in light of the recent news reports that trace amounts of DCD, a fertilizer residue, were found in dairy products produced in New Zealand. Responsible actions were taken across the industry to avert a contamination crisis. As investigations continue, no evidence has been reported about deliberate adulteration of dairy products; however, food safety authorities are boosting surveillance of this contaminant to prevent recurrence of any incidents and to alleviate the public's concerns. 

Preventative measures to enact further testing as a safety precaution are part of standard policies and procedures for forward-thinking laboratory personnel.  AB SCIEX's new method for DCD detection can be added to any food laboratory's method library to accelerate a rapid response.

DCD is reportedly used by farmers to reduce the negative effects of greenhouse gas emission and nitrate leaching that can affect waterways. It has also been reportedly used by some to promote the growth of pastures where cows graze. Standards for the acceptance of DCD in food vary by country.  While only small trace amounts of DCD were detected in milk in the widely reported case out of New Zealand recently, high doses of DCD are considered toxic for humans. 

As a provider of next-generation food safety testing solutions, AB SCIEX has been at the forefront of food contamination crises for the past decade.  In 2007, AB SCIEX addressed the global crisis surrounding melamine and cyanuric acid present in wheat gluten added to pet food, which resulted in the fatalities of several cats and dogs.  A year later, AB SCIEX's method to test for melamine was used to respond to evidence of tainted milk and baby formula.

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