Milk, once considered to be pure and uncontaminated, is gaining notoriety in India because of large scale adulteration.
Adulteration in milk may be done intentionally by adding unwanted ingredients to it to increase profits, or incidentally due to lack of knowledge and lack of hygiene.
70% Milk across India is adulterated!
70% milk samples collected all across the country by food safety regulators did not conform to standards. Water is the number one adulterant causing the taste of the milk to change. It does not boil over while heating but keeps boiling inside the vessel, and the formation of cream is reduced.
To avoid getting caught, more adulterants are added to the ‘watered’ milk to improve its thickness, taste, density and viscosity. The common adulterants are formalin, urea, starch, neutralizers, detergents, sodium chloride, skim milk powder, sucrose, glucose/dextrose, and hydrogen peroxide. Some of these are referred to solid-non-fats (SNF) and are used to cover the quantity of natural fats missing in the ‘watered’ milk.
Food Authority lowers Milk quality Standards!
In a shocking move, the Punjab Food Authority (PFA) relaxed an important standard used to judge the purity of milk. The PFA official said that lactometer reading (LR) standard had been lowered from 28 to 22 and since the relaxation of this rule, no major adulterated milk consignment has been detected by the PFA.
The official also said that the PFA had initially set milk quality standards at: fat 5 per cent, solid non-fats 9.5 percent and a lactometer reading of 28 per cent but after a protest by the Punjab Milk Suppliers’ and Sellers’ Association against the PFA standards it was lowered and also insisted that mixing of water in milk should not be regarded adulteration.
Extent of Adulteration!
In a Hyderabad Clinical Study it was found that milk adulteration is rampant and a large number of samples procured did not conform to the legal standards prescribed by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
The extent of adulteration varied significantly with least percentage for sucrose (22%) and highest for skim milk powder (80%). This means that most of the milk samples were prepared with added adulterants during their production and processing or added intentionally.
We at foodnetindia believe that in a country like India where milk plays such an important role in every strata of society, this analysis should bring more awareness to the general public about the malpractices and negligence in milk production.