News on Adulterated Milk

FDA tests milk samples, finds most substandard
Saturday, 05/07/2014

PUNE: More than half the milk samples collected by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Pune, officials from milk containers being transported to the city from adjoining districts are of poor quality.

FDA officials conducted a surprise inspection drive recently at Moshi check post on Pune-Nashik highway to crack down on carriers transporting adulterated milk to the city. They took sample of milk packets and found that the quality of six of the eleven samples was substandard.

"We had drawn 11 samples from different brands of milk from transporting vehicles at Moshi check post during a two-day drive on June 16 and June 17. The samples were sent for tests. Six of the eleven samples have been found of poor quality as they lacked in standards of fat and solids not fat' (SNF) as set by the law. That means the quality was diluted, may be by mixing water," said Shashikant Kekare, joint commissioner (food), FDA, Pune.

The six samples that failed on the parameters of quality and standard were from milk suppliers from Junnar (Pune district), Sangamner (Ahmednagar), Rahuri (Ahmednagar) and Khed (Pune). They were selling milk in packers under various brand names. "The erring supplier will have to pay the fine as fixed by the law. Besides, they will be warned not to indulge in malpractices," Kekare said.

A recent study conducted by the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) across 33 states found that milk in the country is adulterated with detergent, fat and even urea, as well as diluting with water. Across the country, 68.4% of the samples were found to be contaminated.

The most common adulteration was that of fat and solid not food (SNF), found in 574 (46.8%) of the non-conforming samples. The second highest parameter of non-conformity was skimmed milk powder in 548 samples (44.69%), which includes the presence of glucose in 477 samples. Glucose could have been added to milk, probably to enhance SNF.

"Milk is a primary source of nutrition. Therefore, it is even more important to keep a strict vigil on adulteration," said office bearers of the Indian Medical Association (IMA).

What the law says?

As per the provisions of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954, which was in force earlier, any sample that fails to conform to the provisions of the Act were considered adulterated. The FDA would file a case against a supplier in the court of law even if the sample had less amount of fat and SNF.

Now, with the new Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, the FDA officials can only file a case against a supplier when the sample is found unsafe for consumption.

The Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, which came into effect on August 5, 2011, looks at various aspects of milk adulteration and divides them into various segments like safe food, food not of the nature or substance or quality demanded, extraneous but harmless matter, misbranded items and unsafe for consumption.

According to this Act, unsafe food means an article of food whose name, substance or quality is so affected as to render it injurious to health.


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