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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Edition 12: Would you trust this milk?

The demand and supply arithmetic of the milk has once again given rise to the inflation of prices. Milk prices in India have been increased by some companies while others are in the process of doing the same. Even if you are ready to shell out more for the same amount of this basic need, which you have to in any case, is there any guarantee that the milk is not adulterated?
The most essential commodity in most of the households is also likely to be more expensive. The state government has already hiked the prices of milk from Jan. 1. Aarey milk which was available at Rs 21 per litre and Rs 10.50 for half litre, is now available at Rs 22 per litre while consumers will have to pay Rs 10.50 for half litre packet. Pawar hinted two days ago that the prices of milk can go up still further. Brands like Gouku, Amul, Mahanandl and Warna, which have considerable sale in Mumbai and Pune have increased the purchase rate of milk from this week. The milk of these brands will now be available from Rs 26 to Rs 30 per litre. At the national level, the prices of milk are up by 13.95 percent within last one year .
According to figures available with government of India, the country ranks first among the world's milk producing nations. However, the use of the milk has been diversified in so many ways that the actual supply is always low than that of the demand. The per capita availability of milk was 252 gm per day during 2007-08.
The growth rate of milk production over the past three decades till 9th five year plan was around 4% against the growth rate of about 2% of India's population. Various schemes undertaken by the State as well as the Governments made this possible.
This success story apart, diversion of milk for other products and increasing demand has put this item open for adulteration. Unlike old times, when only water was mixed, now a plethora of chemicals are being used.
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According to government, There is no such thing as “artificial milk/synthetic milk.” Under the Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) Rules, 1955, milk is defined as the normal mammary secretion derived from complete milking of an healthy milk animal without either addition thereto or extraction there from. It shall be free from colostrum. Milk of different classes and of different designations shall conform to the standards laid down under the provisions of PFA Rules, 1955.
As per rule 44(l) of the PFA Rules, 1955, sale of milk and milk products containing substances not found in milk except as prescribed in the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules, 1955, is prohibited.
There are many methods known for detection of adulteration in milk but the methods discussed below are simple but rapid and sensitive methods to detect adulteration.
1) Rosalic acid test (Soda Test) :
In milk neutralizers like hydrated lime, sodium hydroxide, sodium carbonate or sodium bicarbonate are added which are generally prohibited.
How To Detect?
Take 5 ml of milk in a test tube and add 5 ml alcohol followed by 4-5 drops of rosalic acid. If the colour of milk changes to pinkish red, then it is inferred that the milk is adulterated with sodium carbonate / sodium bicarbonate and hence unfit for human consumption.
This test will be effective only if the neutralizers are present in milk. If the added neutralizers are nullified by the developed acidity, then this test will be negative. In that case, the alkaline condition of the milk for the presence of soda ash has to be estimated.
Formalin (40%) is poisonous though it can preserve milk for a long time.
How to detect?
Take 10 ml of milk in test tube and 5 ml of conc. sulphuric acid is added on the sides of the test tube with out shaking. If a violet or blue ring appears at the intersection of the two layers, then it shows the presence of formalin.
Test for detection of sugar in milk
Generally sugar is mixed in the milk to increase the solids not fat content of milk i.e. to increase the lactometer reading of milk, which was already diluted with water.
How to detect?
Take 10 ml of milk in a test tube and add 5 ml of hydrochloric acid along with 0.1 g of resorcinol. Then shake the test tube well and place the test tube in a boiling water bath for 5 min. Appearance of red colour indicates the presence of added sugar in milk.
Addition of starch also increases the SNF content of milk. Apart from the starch, wheat flour, arrowroot, rice flour are also added.
How to detect?
Take 3 ml milk in a test tube and boil it thoroughly. Then milk is cooled to room temperature and added with 2 to 3 drops of 1% iodine solution. Change of colour to blue indicates that the milk is adulterated with starch.
Usually poor quality glucose is added to milk to increase the lactometer reading. There are two tests available to detect the adulteration of milk with glucose.
How to proceed?
1. Phosphomolybdic or Barford Test
Take 3 ml of milk in a test tube and add 3 ml Barford's reagent and mix it thoroughly. Then keep it in a boiling water bath for 3 min and then cool it for 2 min by immersing in tap water with out disturbance. Then add 1 ml of phosphomolybdic acid and shake. If blue colour is visible, then glucose is present in the milk sample.
2. Diacetic test
Take a strip of diacetic strip and dip it in the milk for 30 sec to 1 min. If the strip changes colour, then it shows that the sample of milk contains glucose. If there is no change in the colour of the strip, then glucose is absent. In this method the presence of glucose in milk can be quantified by comparing the colour developed with the chart strip.
What if it is not pure?
The common consumer who receives his milk daily do not suspect it to be impure. But the changing trend of adulteration has made it compulsory for all to check the quality of the food products they use in their homes. This include, least of all, the milk. Once you are sure that the milk you have in your home does not conform to the standards set by government or is not fit to be given to your children, then there are certain ways you can counter that.
The Ministry of Health & Foods has made BIS Certification mandatory in respect of 11 food articles under the PFA Rules, 1955. These items include Milk Powder, Condensed milk, partly skimmed and skimmed condensed milk, Sweetened ultra high temperature treated condensed milk, Skimmed milk powder, standard grade, Skimmed milk powder (extra grade), Partly skimmed milk powder. Under the prevention of Food Adulteration Act, in Maharashtra, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for the implementation / enforcement of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 and Rules, 1955. The enforcement staff draw random samples of various articles of food and take penal action against the offenders where the samples are not found to be conforming to the provisions of the PFA Act, 1954 and Rules, 1955.
Sale of any adulterated and misbranded article of food is an offence punishable with minimum imprisonment of six months and with fine, which shall not be less than Rs.1000/-. In case adulterated foodstuff causes death or grievous hurt, the offence is punishable with imprisonment, which may extend to term of life and with fine which shall not be less than Rs.5000/-.

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