In this work, FT-Raman spectroscopy was explored as a fast and reliable screening method for the assessment of milk powder quality and the identification of samples adulterated with whey (1–40% w/w). Raman measurements can easily differentiate milk powders without the need of sample preparation, whereas the traditional methods of quality control, including high-performance liquid chromatography, are laborious and slow. The FT-Raman spectra of whole, low-fat, and skimmed milk powder samples were obtained and distinguished from commercial milk powder samples. In addition, the exploratory analysis employing data from Raman spectroscopy and principal component analysis (PCA)allowed the separation of milk powder samples according to type,identifying differences between samples in the same group. Multivariate analysis was also developed to classify the adulterated milk powder samples using PCA and partial least squares discriminate analysis (PLS-DA). The resulting PLS-DA model correctly classified 100% of the adulterated samples. These results clearly demonstrate the utility of FT-Raman spectroscopy combined with chemometrics as a rapid method for screening milk powder. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.