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India’s milk prices hiked again, though much of it is adulterated

2 commentsBy RJ Whitehead , 05-Feb-2014
Last updated on 05-Feb-2014 at 09:18 GMT

India’s milk prices hiked again, though much of it is adulterated

As milk prices go up by a further Rs2 per litre, India’s Supreme Court has gone on record to acknowledge milk adulteration as “serious”, and has demanded that individual states sentence those convicted of it to a maximum of life in jail.

Headed by Justice KS Radhakrishnan, the bench has required state governments three weeks to provide detailed affidavits on the steps they are taking to tackle milk adulteration, and urged them to make it an offence punishable by up to life imprisonment, as has already been done in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Odisha.

The judges also called out Uttar Pradesh’s government for not prosecuting those suspected of adulterating milk and called for details of the pending cases on the issue in the state.

Synthetic material

The bench was ruling on a public interest litigation that had sought the Supreme Court’s direction to state governments to stop the practice of milk adulteration, which is seen as being rampant in many states.

Advocate Anurag Tomar, who was representing the petitioners, argued that milk contaminated with synthetic material is being sold particularly in northern states, and poses a serious threat to the health of consumers.

He submitted that samples collected by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India showed that there was large-scale sale of adulterated milk across the country. 

The first ever national survey on milk adulteration, published by the FSSAI in 2012, revealed that most urban Indians drink contaminated milk, and 70% of samples tested for the report contained anything from starch to detergents and bleaching agents to fertilisers.

It found that, due to lack of hygiene and sanitation in milk handling and packaging, detergents that were used during cleaning operations had not been washed properly and would find their way into the milk. 

Other contaminants like urea, starch, glucose and formalin were also used as adulterants. These are used to increase the thickness and viscosity of the milk, as well as to preserve it for a longer period. 

Around 8% of samples were found to contain detergents, although water turned out to be the most common adulterant in milk, with 46% of the 1,971 tested samples being diluted with water.

Prices rising

Milk is an especially touchy subject at the moment, with prices more than doubling since 2008, when a litre cost an average of Rs16 (US$0.26) compared to Rs40 (US$0.64) today. 

This year, some of India’s leading dairy suppliers have announced they would raise the price they charged to Rs2 per litre to absorb the "ongoing rise in the prices of raw milk in the last few months, coupled with the need to ensure availability of milk in the consumer market,” according to Mother Dairy, the biggest such company in Delhi NCR.

This follows similar action taken by dairy major Amul, which has increased its prices four times since last April, to the tune of Rs8-10 per litre.

2 comments (Comments are now closed)

MILK CONTAMINATION

Hitorically, dairy industry has been cleaned by certain chemicals such as caustic soda and Nitric acid, followed by the sanitizations either with hot water or steam.There is nothing wrong with this process as long as the cleaning regime is maintained strictly.The issue here for poor hygiene is short cut by the many processors.There is a thumb rule in Dairy Industry.More cleanings you do, the better.
As far as the adultration is concerned, this is because of greediness and poor law enforcements.There has to be a cunsomer activism in iNDIA like in the west ,SIMILAR TO AAP movement.only then the menace of the adultration can be curtailed

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Posted by Jonnalagedda jagan Mohan Gandhi
13 February 2014 | 15h13

India contaminated - Milk -no big deal!

Mother Dairy is the Biggest banner and leader in milk processing in India run by NDDB, not amul, that is a cooperation of couple of cooperatives, they just keep advertising across the country to market the brand, they are trained in Bangalore by KMF, only professionally managed federation in India till date. Contamination, adulteration in milk in India - what can we say? one personally visit the facilities while they clean the plant lines after processing, well they do their job perfectly alright, but their knowledge about E.Coli contamination in the water they wash the processing lines are around 100+ times more than recommended levels?! WHO clearly defines Zero organism per 100 ml of drinking water for Human consumption, where the Food, health ministry permits (why, how, we do not know) 10 organism per 100 ml, where in test report from many source, brand clearly declared 160 organisms per 100 ml, this is our water sanitation, hygiene levels. Most of the dairy processors use
outdated chemicals to clean the plant lines, which is of no or not much use. Changing to Ozone wash will be the safe way to ensure 100% cleanliness of the plant and lines ensuring pure milk, this is a pity to know what is happening around us and keep quiet. Let them wake up atleast now and implement technologies to deliver safe, pure milk.

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Posted by Vallal Ranganathan
05 February 2014 | 18h46

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