New investment for dairy industry

Ponoka MP Blaine Calkins, who is a member of the rural agriculture caucus, announced on March 25 that the government of Canada is investing close to $1 million to assist SciMed Technologies with the marketing of its new diagnostic kits, that test for vitamin A and D in milk and dairy based foods.

  • Apr. 2, 2008 9:00 a.m.
Ponoka MP Blaine Calkins

Ponoka MP Blaine Calkins

Ponoka MP Blaine Calkins, who is a member of the rural agriculture caucus, announced on March 25 that the government of Canada is investing close to $1 million to assist SciMed Technologies with the marketing of its new diagnostic kits, that test for vitamin A and D in milk and dairy based foods.

Dr. Rajan Gupta the president of SciMed was very pleased with the funding that will be used to help market the new product.

“We are definitely very excited and the timing of this announcement, it was great for us because we have this product and we need the funds to go market and this is a great program,” said Gupta. “Not only is this money coming to us but we were able to bring in other investments because of this investment.”

The two new diagnostic kits (VitaKitA and VitaKit D) speed up the time it takes dairy processors to reliably and efficiently test the vitamin content of their own milk because specialized laboratory equipment or expertise is not required.

“This new technology turns a process that would take three to five days into a couple of hours. It significantly speeds up the process as far as fortification of milk products is concerned,” said Calkins. “It improves product quality and makes it more efficient for consumers and streamlines process for producers.”

Gupta says that the technology is beneficial because the vitamins are being added to milk everywhere.

“Throughout the world vitamin A and D is being added into milk so human requirements are met and the methodology to confirm that these vitamins have been added into milk and is safe for human consumption,” said Gupta. “Currently it takes two to three weeks, with our technology it will take less than two hours and they will also have the ability to do it in-house instead of testing out-of-house.”

The funding is being provided through Agriculture and Agri-Opportunities programs. Calkins said these investments are meant to help producer groups, bio-tech companies and anyone with a vested interest in technology. He said that the fund is over $130 million and can be applied for to help them advance and get their new technology into the market.

“The government of Canada is proud to stand behind SciMed as they improve the quality assurance of processing of milk and dairy products,” said Calkins. “It is to help them develop a better plan both domestically and internationally.”

Gupta also says that the new technology will save the producer money. Currently it costs them $100 per test and with their product it will be $40 or less.

SciMed, based in Edmonton, has been developing this new technology for five years and have applied for patents for the technology. The kits are initially for milk we drink and then will be applied to infant formula, yogurt, ice creams and etcetera.