News on Adulterated Milk

SC raps govt on spurious milk, wants law in winter session - Tells govt to file status report in four weeks on steps to check adulteration
Wednesday, 12/11/2014

New Delhi : The Supreme Court today slammed the Centre for the delay in putting in place a deterrent law to check adulteration of milk and milk products with harmful chemical substances.

A Bench comprising Justices MY Eqbal and Shiva Kirti Singh said it wanted the government to have the relevant law passed at least in the coming winter session of Parliament. The government had informed the court eight months ago that a new law was in the offing but nothing had been done so far, it noted.

It also directed the Centre to file a status report within four weeks detailing the steps being taken to prevent adulteration.

The Bench noted that reports submitted by various agencies clearly showed that synthetic milk and milk products continued to be sold in the market. Such milk contained urea, starch, glucose/sugar, caustic soda, refined white paint, paper pulp, detergent and other such chemicals, putting at risk the health of the entire population.

The characteristic white colour of the milk was being achieved by adding white paint while refined oil was used as a substitute for milk fat.

In the December 5, 2013 order, the apex court had noted that Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Odisha had made adulteration of food products punishable with life imprisonment and fine in addition.

“Considering the seriousness of the offence, it is important that similar amendments are to be made in other states as well,” the SC had said in the order.

At a hearing on March 13 this year, the Centre had submitted to the court a letter written by the Health Ministry stating that the process had been initiated to amend the Food Safety and Standards Act in the light of SC’s observations in the case.

The court had then lamented that most of the states were prosecuting the offenders under laws merely meant for imposition of penalties and were reluctant to enact tougher laws. It had directed all the states to file detailed affidavits within three weeks, covering all aspects of adulteration, the number of samples collected during raids and the cases initiated and the percentage of conviction.

The SC is hearing a PIL filed by Swami Achyutananad Tirth and others. Representing the petitioners, advocate Anurag Tomar pleaded with the Bench to direct the states to put in place a zero-tolerance mechanism to check the menace. The Bench slated the next hearing for December 10.

Law enforcement authorities had told the court that they conducted large-scale inspections during the festival seasons such as Diwali and Dasehra. But the Bench noted that the affidavits filed by the states did not disclose the provisions under which the offenders were booked and the outcome of the cases.

Synthetic milk: A health hazard

The sale of synthetic milk goes on unabated. Such milk is a mix of deadly chemicals such as urea, starch, glucose/sugar, caustic soda, refined white paint, paper pulp and detergents

The characteristic white colour is achieved by adding white paint, while refined oil is used as a substitute for milk fat. The cost of preparing synthetic milk is very less. The synthetically prepared milk is blended with natural milk and sold in the market.

Synthetic milk poses serious threat to health and lives of consumers. Urea and caustic soda is very harmful for kidneys. Pregnant women and children are most vulnerable

We hope and trust that the Centre will take appropriate measures in the winter session of Parliament. It's high time. Adulteration in milk is going on and states should also act. Either the government amend their food safety act or make new laws.... The matter is very, very serious. Urgent actions are needed — An SC Bench


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