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Quality feed for quality food

The quality of the products from leading Latin American dairy producer, Dos Pinos, originates from its own feed plant, where all the raw materials and finished feed for cattle are tested in a sophisticated feed laboratory.

By Mariela Herrera, Scanco, Costa Rica

Dos Pinos began using its first NIR analysis equipment for all plant-based raw materials, including corn, wheat, soy meal and DDGS in 2006. The NIR equipment had a positive impact and became essential for both the laboratory and for the production area. “I would say that the NIR is the heart of both departments,” says Sandra Quiros, Feed Plant Laboratory Manager.

“The production department bases its operations on the fast and accurate results from the laboratory. In fact, NIR analysis is so important for the plant that we decided to purchase an additional unit as back up. If for some reason the one machine is unavailable, I want to make sure that the plant and the laboratory can continue operating,” says Sandra.

Rapid results An essential part of the production process, the NIR equipment is installed in the sample reception area for incoming raw materials and finished products.  “We’re a cooperative, so when the lab receives samples from associate farms, they’re tested immediately. The results are sent to the production department 15 minutes after we receive the sample. We then use this information for formulation and final product inspection,” says Sandra.

The NIR system saves Dos Pinos time, and considerable savings on reagents.  “The equipment is very reliable. We had some initial problems with the older calibration, which resulted in low protein results,” explains Sandra. “However this is no longer a problem, as the new calibration is more robust. We achieve more accurate results, especially in high protein raw materials, moisture and ash, which is a big advantage for the laboratory and for the production department.”

About DOS PINOS: DOS PINOS Quality Cooperative de Productores de Leche R.L., or DOS PINOS, is one of the most successful dairy companies in Latin American, with the largest food processing plant in Central America.

Founded in 1947 as a farmers’ cooperative, the company produces cattle-feed blends as well as finished products, and develops new products for storage and distribution.

The culture of quality in the DOS PINOS Cooperative is embodied in a comprehensive quality assurance system that requires all employees to take responsibility for quality, regardless of their area of work. The quality initiatives are supported by ISO 9000, ISO 14000 Certification and ISO 17025.

Do you use NIR technology for quality control? Let us know about your experiences in the comments.