The fresh milk that you have every morning may be doing more harm to your health.
The Mumbai Grahak Panchayat (MGP) has found that at least 46% of the milk consumed by us is below standard and of this 30% is adulterated with urea, starch, sugar or water.
Most of the samples did not match the parameters set by the food and drug administration (FDA) for fat and solid-non-fat (SNF) components in cow and buffalo milk. Any milk sample found with lesser amount is considered to be substandard (see box).
Since June 2014, the MGP has examined more than 1,000 samples in Mumbai, Pune, Thane, Raigad and Ratnagiri. Primary observations indicated more than 25% was adulterated with water, while another 5% with urea, starch and sugar to improve its thickness.
“Adulteration with water is equally bad as we don’t know about its quality. It could lead to bacterial infection,” said Shudhada Chaukar, member of MGP.
The milk is tested with an analyser to ascertain the per cent of fat, protein and water. The National Dairy Development Board reagents kit is used to ascertain the adulteration of urea, sugar and starch.
There are three stages of collection in the state: milk collected from farmers is supplied to the district-level collection centre, from there it goes to the dairy where it is packed and supplied to vendors. “The government should make use of milk analysers at the first two levels mandatory,” said Chaukar.
Suresh Annapure, FDA joint commissioner, said there couldn’t be such a large scale of adulteration. “We will look at the details and then decide our further course of action. So far we have not received the MGP’s data,” he said.