LEXINGTON, Ky. — For more than two years, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture researchers have been heading up a project aimed at improving food safety and defense measures associated with bulk milk transport.
As an added bonus, their efforts are streamlining the information gathering process associated with farm milk pickups and deliveries.
Researchers demonstrated the milk transport and traceability security system in Lexington Oct. 9 to show the prototype’s potential to meet the needs of dairy processors, milk marketing agencies and milk transportation companies.
“As we’ve all seen recently overseas, the security of our milk supply is vital to ensuring the health and safety of our citizens,” U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers said.
Key components of the system include a small, user-friendly, handheld computer device a hauler will use to enter typical milk ticket information.
The handheld device will provide the hauler with the most up-to-date information regarding pickup scheduling and logistics, among other data. The tanker itself will be outfitted with a computer processor to store the milk data.
Other key components on the tanker include a global position system unit, locks on the dome lid and rear door, a key pad to enter security codes when the handheld device is not available and temperature sensors for the sample cooler and cargo.
Information typically recorded on the milk ticket, tanker wash tag and other documentation will be entered into the handheld device. This information will be accumulated, tracked and provided to appropriate individuals who are using the system, Chris Thompson, University of Kentucky regulatory services milk coordinator, said.
The specific objectives for the continuation project include:
• Optimization of the hardware and electronics for the security monitoring system.
• Development of an enterprise quality data server system.
• Development of commercial quality Web-based software.
• Demonstration of the system for a one-month period.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, through the National Institute For Hometown Security in Somerset, Ky., funded the initial $1.5 million project and announced additional funds of nearly $1.2 million for future development.