Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) action against more than 90 dairies and distributors in the past two months, has helped in curbing adulteration of milk and reduced its excessive supply in Maharashtra.
The dairy owners and operators involved in the production of skimmed milk powder (SMP) have been demanding subsidy for the conversion of milk to the powder on the backdrop of falling prices of SMP in the international market.
Activists have been pointing out that many cooperatives earned profits when the prices were high in the international markets. To make up for the demand-supply gap locally, water was being added to milk while selling in local markets.
“The conversion of milk into SMP has decreased owing to the low market price and this has subsequently resulted in the excessive stock of the milk at 32 lakh litres a day. But at the same time, the one of the major reasons of the excessive supply, is adulteration. About 20% of the milk in the market is adulterated,” said a top level officer from the FDA.
Activists have demanded stringent action against adulteration. “The milk producing cooperatives have been complaining about the losses owing to the excessive milk but why are they indulging in the adulteration despite the excessive supply in the market? They add about 15% water to the milk and then other adulterants like urea, caustic soda and sugar. Since the dairy operators are more interested in SMP, the percentage of adulteration has been on the rise,” said Shree Naik, president of the Milk Distributors and Transporters Sangh.
FDA commissioner Purushottam Bhapkar admitted that there was rampant adulteration of milk. “Of the 609 samples collected during our raids on distributors and cooperatives in the past two months, 76 were found substandard, containing adulterants such as water. Nineteen of them had more serious adulterants such as sugar and palmoline oil. We have registered criminal cases against those involved in them,” he said.
* Total daily production of milk in the state - 1.48 crore
* Daily demand of milk – 1.16 crore
* Daily excessive milk – 32 lakh
Price high despite abundant supply
* The activists have raised question about high MRP of milk sold in pouches despite excessive production, reduction in the procurement price from Rs 27 to Rs 18 and significant decline in oil prices in last six months.
* FDA helpline for the complaint against adulteration – 1800 222 365
‘Intensify action against adulteration’
Anand Gorad, president of Agri Dairy and Food Industry Forum, said, “The FDA should intensify action against the adulteration. Not only milk but the SMP sold at the international level proved to be sub-standard due to adulteration.”
Vinayak Patil, chairman, state cooperative dairy action committee, said, “I agree that adulteration takes place but it is not the only reason for the excessive milk supply and its conversion into the SMP. We have been maintaining balance in conversion and supply of the milk in domestic market. The allegation about the adulteration in SMP and rejection at the international level is baseless.”