The US Department of Homeland Security through the National Institute For Hometown Security in Somerset KY has announced additional funding of nearly $1.2 million for future development of a milk transportation security system spearheaded by the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, according to university information.

Researchers at the college have demonstrated the Milk Transport and Traceability Security System developed as part of the college's project aimed at improving food safety and defense measures associated with bulk milk transport, according to university information.

Nancy Cox, agriculture associate dean for research, said at the October 9 demonstration that the new funding will allow researchers to fine tune the system in the next year.

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, and demonstration of the system for a one month period.

The initial funding for the project totaled $1.5 million. The system was demonstrated to show the prototype’s potential to meet the needs of dairy processors, milk marketing agencies, and milk transportation companies. Chris Thompson, university regulatory services milk coordinator, and Fred Payne, university biosystems and agricultural engineering professor, have been guiding a team of researchers in the project from the University of Kentucky, Western Kentucky University and the University of Louisville.

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.