If you’ve ever wondered what methods we use to test for fats in milk and milk products, this post is for you!
February 16, 2021
By Jennifer Newton
There are so many methods to choose from when testing the fat content of milk and milk products. This might be because historically, many unscrupulous farmers watered down their milk and scooped off cream to increase their volumes, so they could make more money whilst the consumer got short-changed. Nowadays, most commercial transactions of selling milk are based on the fat content (who wants to be paying for water?). So, faster and cheaper testing methods are constantly being developed to determine the actual fat content of milk.
The question remains; “what is the best test method for fat content in milk and milk products?” The answer depends on what information you require for your decision. It can be confusing, but first determine your goal. Are you monitoring your herd’s average production? Are you selling an average season production, negotiating a crucial delivery or exporting to an important market?
If it is one of the latter, you want the test method to be recognised internationally and you want a laboratory with ISO 17025 accreditation to be doing your analysis. Those laboratories will have had their testing audited and their results assessed, and they will be using internationally recognised methods.
Whilst the most common laboratory-based method in use today are the Gerber Method in Europe and the Babcock Method in the US, there is agreement amongst experts that the ultimate precision method for determination of milk fat content is the Röse-Gottlieb (Bogomolov et al., 2017). The Babcock and Gerber method are very similar methodologies, and it has been found that the Gerber method measures consistently but only slightly higher than the Röse-Gottlieb method (Crocker et al., 2009).
If you need an accredited test for fat content in milk, cream or ice cream or would like some more information feel free to contact us.
- Journal of Dairy Research , Volume 22 , Issue 3 , October 1955 , pp. 336 – 339
- “ A comparison of the Gerber and Röse Gottlieb methods for the determination of fat in milk” Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 June 2009, W. P. Crocker, D. I. Jenkins, A. L. Provan, F. J. Macdonald, S. J. Rowland and J. C. D. White; 598. A comparison of the Gerber and Röse Gottlieb methods for the determination of fat in milk | Journal of Dairy Research | Cambridge Core