Food safety: Analyzer detects melamine contamination in protein-based products

Sensor technology exists to prevent serious food contamination events.


Recent food scandals across China and elsewhere have highlighted the need for critical analysis. Melamine contamination in milk, baby formula, and even pet food has left a trail of injury and death, with calls for more thorough screening.

PerkinElmer Life and Analytical Sciences offers a gas chromatography / mass spectrometry (GC/MS) analyzer that can detect melamine adulteration in protein-based foods. That device drew much interest last month at the Analytica conference in China . PerkinElmer’s melamine analyzer includes all instrumentation, consumables, and application resources needed to screen for melamine contamination in protein-based foods including baby formula, dairy products, and pet food.

“With this system, laboratories can be confident that the analysis they are running is accurate and conforms to the most recent guideline from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for screening of wheat gluten, rice protein, corn gluten and soy protein,” said Richard Begley, Ph.D., president, analytical sciences for PerkinElmer. “This is part of PerkinElmer’s EcoAnalytix initiative, which addresses the global imperatives of food and consumer product safety, water quality and sustainable energy development to create a healthy and safe environment.”

Melamine is a nitrogen-rich industrial chemical that became well-known in North America in 2007 after its presence in wheat gluten was linked with renal failure in dogs and cats. The FDA quickly issued a standard test method for the analysis of melamine in protein materials using GC/MS.

The melamine analyzer includes a Clarus 600 T GC/MS with autosampler and TurboMass GC/MS software, along with all consumables needed for analysis and an application CD for rapid ramp-up. The application CD includes methods and sample data, a library of derivatized compounds spectra of melamine and related compounds, a melamine application guidebook, and an application note that describes the analytical method in detail.

—Edited by Peter Welander, process industries editor, ,
Control Engineering Process Instrumentation & Sensors Monthly
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