Monday, 19 May 2014

Milk Adulteration in India

The results of survey on milk by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) reveal that most Indians are consuming detergents and other contaminants through milk. 

70 per cent milk samples collected across the country by food safety authority did not conform to standards.

Due to lack of hygiene and sanitation in milk handling and packaging, detergents (used during cleaning operations) are not washed properly and find their way into the milk. 

Other contaminants like urea, starch, glucose, formalin along with detergent are used as adulterants. These adulterants are used to increase the thickness and viscosity of the milk as well as to preserve it for a longer period. 

The consumption of milk with detergents is hazardous to health. About eight per cent samples were found to have detergents.

The most common reason for milk adulteration is the difference between demand and supply of milk. In order to meet the demand, the suppliers usually adulterate the milk and increase the quantity.

The highest sample of milk has low Solid Not Fat (SNF) and this was due to dilution of milk with water. The higher the SNF, the better is the quality of milk. 

The adulterants like salt, detergents and glucose add to the thickness and viscosity of the milk, while starch prevents curdling of milk. 

These adulterants are hazardous and cause irreversible damage to the human organs. The detergents in milk caused food poisoning and gastrointestinal complications. The other synthetic compounds cause impairments, heart problems, cancer and even death. The immediate effect of drinking adulterated milk with urea, caustic soda and formalin is gastroenteritis but the long term effects are known to be far more serious.

Water turned out to be the most common adulterant in milk. It reduces the nutritional value of milk. If contaminated (with pesticides, heavy metals), water poses a health risk to consumers.

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