Officials have discovered that to prolong life of milk and milk products, many dairy owners had been using a cocktail of chemicals whose consumption can damage kidney and liver.
Food and drug officials detected Hydrogen peroxide (a common paper and hair bleaching agent), potassium hydroxide (used in soap preparation) and hypo (a bleaching agent) in milk at some dairies during raids in Madhya Pradesh recently.
This is the first time when the department noticed use of these chemicals whose short term consumption can cause gastroenteritis but damage liver and kidneys if ingested for a longer period.
Of these, hydrogen peroxide in particular is almost impossible to detect in laboratory tests, leading the officials to suspect the dairies could have been using these in plenty.
Usually, food security officer Bhopal BS Dhakad said, dairy owners mixed argemone oil, a poisonous substance, and starch in milk during preparations of products like paneer and mawa.
In fact, food security officer Avinash Gupta said, it was the presence of a tin containing huge quantity of hydrogen peroxide at a dairy in Morena which alerted them about the misuse of these chemicals.
An official, wishing anonymity, sarcastically remarked that unscrupulous dairy owners "have their own research and development wings".
While dairy manufacturers are experimenting with chemicals to prolong life of milk products, risking people's health in the process, old methods of adulteration continue to flourish, especially in Chambal region.
According to an official, who wished anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media, 10 litres of 'synthetic' milk contain only 200 mililitres of genuine milk.
The 'synthetic' milk, a proven health hazard, is a mixture of washing powder used for woolens, vegetable oil, water, glucose powder and a chemical substance called RM.
"Like illegal mining, the adulteration business is growing by the day in most regions of the state. Government should take stringent steps to curb adulteration as raids are not the only way to stop them," the official said.
He said the government must not only increase the staff for checking adulteration but also provide them security because they face threats during raids.