News on Adulterated Milk

Adulterated milk puts citizens at risk
Friday, 20/05/2016


Vijayawada: Reports of milk adulteration have raised serious health concerns in the state. Vigilance teams comprising personnel from the office of food inspector, reportedly, seized adulterated milk packets in Guntur and some other coastal districts recently. Sugar, palm oil, milk powder and detergent were allegedly mixed with the milk.

According to reports, milk is also adulterated using a variety of chemicals, including urea and white phenyl, which help the diluted product attain the white colour. A medical practitioner from Bhimavaram in West Godavari district Kathula Satyaprasad had complained of milk adulteration in Narsapur to the authorities of Food Safety Office. However, no action was taken. Satyaprasad said ammonium was being mixed in the milk, which is harmful to liver. In fact, one of Satyaprasad's patients informed him that 100 half litre packets were being adulterated to make 400 sachets.

However, food safety officer of West Godavari district Malakonda Reddy maintained that there were no cases of milk adulteration in his district. Raids by the vigilance wing found machines being used to extract fat from milk. If fat is extracted, milk loses a huge amount of nutritional value, which is an offence.

Sai Mahesh Reddy, a Ph.D scholar from NTR Government Veterinary College at Gannavaram, said monitoring of supply chain by unqualified persons is how milk adulteration is being carried out without detection. Diploma holders in veterinary science have been entrusted to undertake quality checks by the department of animal husbandry which is in contravention with the guidelines of Veterinary Council of India (VCI), contended Mahesh Reddy.

According to information, adulteration takes place at the collection points of milk containers and filling stations. Even premier milk brands are adulterated, said Mahesh and reiterated the need to replace unqualified diploma holders appointed under the Gopala Mitra scheme with candidates with bachelor's degree in veterinary science.

Further examination of the problem revealed that adulteration is the result of a severe milk shortage. For instance, in Krishna district daily milk demand is around 6 lakh litres but the production remains at 3.5 lakh litres. It is alleged that the demand is being met by artificial milk.

A professor in veterinary science, on condition of anonymity, said the fall in milk production was because of rising fertility problems in milch cattle, which is attributed to state animal husbandry department's failure to detect heat period in the animals. A good number of buffaloes are being shifted to slaughter houses as they were unable to conceive, the professor said. As per the latest census, the state has 1 crore milch buffaloes in rural areas and 36.90 lakh in urban areas.

Experts foresee an acute milk crisis in the future, unless urgent measures are not taken up to activate the reproduction cycle. "The national cattle commission recommended one veterinary doctor for every 5,000 units of livestock. In reality, one vet is burdened with 50,000 units. If that is the case, how can we check the rapid, declining trend of reproduction," asked Mahesh Reddy.


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