The very serious Chinese milk products scare the fall of last year prompted researchers in Switzerland to find a new scientific method of recognising the presence of the dangerous chemical melamine in foods and liquids.
The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (EPFZ) announced yesterday that they have developed a method that cuts the time needed to test products down from around an hour to just a few seconds.
In September last year it is believed that at least 300,000 Chinese children became seriously ill after drinking melamine tainted milk. At least six children died in the scandal which saw Chinese milk and milk products, such as ice cream, pulled from the shelves of millions of stores not only in China but across the world.
Many countries, including the US, still ban the importation of Chinese milk products. The dangerous chemical that is more generally used in the production of plastics and resins found its way into milk when it was discovered that it artificially raises the protein content of foods.
Now the Swiss scientists are making use of a well-established procedure known as Mass Spectrometry in order to quickly chemically analyse food products to see if they contain deadly melamine.