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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Edition 12: Milk Adulteration Means playing with Future

There have been recent spate of incidents in which some persons were caught making artificial milk. The adulteration of the milk is not a new phenomenon. It is as age old as when the human started drinking milk got from other animals. With its nutrient properties and easy availibility, milk has became almost an indisponsible food item in the common households. It is a most unfortunate development that this main ingrdient of a child's staple for development has fallen victim to the business pressure.
The government claims to have tightened noose around dairy traders, who indulge in adulteration of milk. The authorities have arrested at least 25 milk in last six months. They have been booked under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act. However, the practise of milk adulteration goes unabated, particularly during summers, when the yield is less. According to sources, some dairy farmers use mixture of sodium chloride, sodium bicarbonate, vegetable oil and detergents to increase the volume and fat content of milk, while some use urea mixed with water. Another rampant practise amongst the dairy owners is the indiscriminate use of oxytocin, a steroid given to the cattle to increase milk yield. Prolonged use of milk laced with this steroid can show symptoms of early maturity among boys and girls.
Despite making tall claims, the department of animal husbandry, department of food and drug administration and department of health have been unable to curb the menace. In the wake of the milk adulteration cases unearthed in Pune district, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after consulting the Pune District Co-operative Milk Producers' Federation and 150 dairy owners prepared a 13-point precautionary draft. It has been circulated to all dairy owners in Pune, Sangli and Kolhapur districts. A similar meeting was held for milk producers in Sangli and Kolhapur in early September and a similar draft was discussed and prepared for circulation to milk producers in these districts.
The draft explains the FDA rules and regulations, and the dos an don'ts when it comes to buying sealed packets of milk. The FDA said it would will regularly inspect set-ups of milk producers and dairy owners to check if they are abiding by the rules and regulations, and check if the milk is being tested before it is sent to distributors and agencies.
It is is a moot question whether this will pave the way for us getting a safe and healthy milk. This food item is cheifly consumed by children which are the future of the country. If we are unbale to provide pure milk to our future of the nation, how can we achieve the goal of being a superpower in year 2020. This fact is especially serious in the backdrop of the fact that India is a country with maximum population falling in young age group. Within ten years from now, this young briagde will take on the stage of our public life. Are we ready to find weak, disease infected and unsupportive population. If not, then it is our collective responsibility now to stop this menace at the doorstep itself. This is a question of our future as a nation.
How the ball started rolling
The issue of milk adulteration in Pune came to light in the month of August last year when the food and drugs administration unearthed a racket supplying synthetic milk to Pune from a village in Phaltan taluka of Satara district. The racket was found to be using palmolein oil, Sorbitol (sugar alcohol) and sodium lauryl ether sulfate (a detergent) to make milk and sell it in five districts. A series of raids in Satara, Solapur, Ahmednagar and Kolhapur districts followed.
In September also the Pune Rural police seized 17,000 litres of adulterated milk from a dairy in Patas, a village near Pune, which is a supplier to a Mumbai-based dairy. The seized goods included quantities of milk to which had been added lactose powder, milk powder and caustic soda to increase the fat content.
The findings of adulterated milk in Maharashtra prompted the state government to make protein-testing mandatory for dairies before they procure milk. If milk fails this test, dairies have been instructed to treat it as adulterated and immediately destroy it, an official concerned with the development said.
Known in the industry as Pyne’s method, the six minute test uses potassium oxalate, phenolphthalein indicator and neutral formaldehyde to estimate the percentage of protein in the milk.
Food adulteration is a cognisable and non-bailable offence in Maharashtra following the state amendment in the food adulteration prevention act in January 2008.
The adulterants being chemically inactive, increase the density of the milk, but reduce the protein levels. Any adulteration in milk, including with water instantly disturbs the protein content in the milk.
After the action by the administration, it was reported that millk supply to city had fallen by 40%. The culprits of that racket have been arrested by the police. The persons involved in the racket were highly educated and they used such sophisticated methods that the FDA had to take National Chemical Laboratory's help.

1 comment:

  1. Adulterants are used in milk for mainly 4 reasons:
    i) To increase the quantity
    ii) To increase the quality
    iii) To attract the customers
    iv) To improve the lactometer reading
    The common adulterants in milk are cane sugar, starch, urea, skimmed milk, Ammonium sulphate, detergents, hydrogen peroxide, pulverized soap, glucose, sodium chloride. Addition of starch in milk increases the Solid Not Fat (SNF) content. Glucose and sulfate addition increases the lactometer reading. Urea is generally added in preparation of synthetic milk to increase the SNF value. Sugar is mixed to increase the SNF content of milk i.e. to increase lactometer reading. Addition of salt in milk is mainly resorted in aiming to increase the corrected lactometer reading. Vegetable fat is added to increase fatty acid composition as the vegetable fat has long chain fatty acids. Though Formalin (40%) is poisonous it is added to preserve the milk for a long time.I found more about mil adulteration at