More than two-thirds of milk in India violates national food safety standards, the Indian government has revealed to the country’s Supreme Court.
In an affidavit filed with the Supreme Court earlier this month, the government references a Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) study which found that 68.4% of milk in the country did not meet FSSAI standards.
The study, The National Survey on Milk Adulteration 2011, was presented to the country’s Supreme Court as part of an on-going Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on the sale of synthetic and adulterated milk and dairy products in India.
The petition alleged that some milk and milk-based products were being prepared using potentially hazardous substances such as urea, detergent, and white paint.
The survey involved the collection of nearly 1,800 samples of liquid milk from across 33 Indian states by FSSAI officials.
The samples were then analysed for parameters such as fat percentage, acidity, hydrogen peroxide, sugar, starch, glucose, urea, salt, detergent, skimmed milk powder, and vegetable fats to ascertain the presence of any adulterants.
Of the 1791 samples collected, 1226 did not conform to existing Indian dairy industry standards.
The addition of water into milk was the most common form of adulteration, followed by contaminants such as detergent and skimmed milk powder (SMP).
“The total conforming samples to the FSSA standards were 565 (31.5%). The total non-conforming samples were found to be 1226 (68.4%),” said the filed FSSAI survey.
“The study indicates that addition of water to milk is most common adulterant. Addition of water not only reduces the nutritional value of milk but contaminated water may also pose health risk to the consumer.”
“The study also indicated the presence of detergent in some cases. Consumption of milk with detergent may cause health hazards and indicates lack of hygiene and sanitation in the milk handling,” the survey added.
The PIL, which was filed with the Supreme Court by Swami Achyutanand Tirth of Uttrarakhand on behalf of a number of concerned citizens, also issued notices to regional governments in Haryana, Rajasthan, Utter Pradesh, Uttrakhand and Delhi.