News on Adulterated Milk

After six decades, India to get new safety standards for milk
Wednesday, 06/04/2016

EW DELHI: India is set to get new national milk safety standards after 60 years that will standardise outdated benchmarks for determining adulteration, include sources such as camel and yak and incorporate flavoured and fortified milk.

Under current guidelineses set in 1954, only milk from cow, sheep, buffalo and goat iss considered.

“There is a need to revisit old standards to ensure people eat andnd drink quality food,” saidaid Pawan Agarwal, CEO, FFoodd Safety and Standards Authority of India, the country’s food-safety regulator.

Close to 70% of milk sold in India is considered adulterated as it doesn’t conform to standards for fat and solid non-fat (SNF) content — including vitamins and minerals — that vary from state to state. This is a problem, experts say, as not conforming to fat standards is not a health hazard — which is what adulteration implies. Also, hybrid cattle and environmental changes have rendered the old standards useless.

“Milk with water added is considered adulterated. It may be nonconforming to set standards but is essentially not unsafe to drink,” said an FSSAI official.

Diluting milk with water lowers the percentage of fat, vitamins and minerals.

Fat and SNF standards differ across states. In Punjab, Chandigarh and Haryana, for example, the percentage of recommended fat is 4%, it’s 3% for Mizoram and Odisha, and 3.5% for the rest of India. For SNF, earlier criterion was 8.2%.

“With milk sourced from across states, there is no point in having different standards for different states. While drafting the new standards, we have brought uniformity to the criteria,” the official said.While 8.5% will be the recommended benchmark for SNF, 3.2% is being considered for fat in milk as the tentative cut-off across India.

“We have adopted a threepronged strategy, in which setting new standards is one component. The other two being commissioning a national-level survey to measure the quality of milk India is drinking and identify problem areas,” Agarwal said.


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