Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU) have asked the state government to give the powers of checking the quality of milk and meat products to veterinary officials.
Currently, these powers rest with the doctors, with the district health officer as head of the quality check staff for all food items.
Vice-chancellor Dr VK Taneja said, "India is the only country where these powers rest with the officials of the health department. It's wrong as the expertise over these products lies with veterinary doctors."
The university has written to the state government last month. On Monday, Dr Taneja give a presentation to animal husbandry minister Gulzar Singh Ranike who was at the university campus to preside over a workshop.
Punjab is one of the leading producers of milk, meat, eggs and other livestock products and there have been studies that if more thrust is given on the quality of these products, the consumption and productivity can be increased.
The V-C, in the letter to the government, said, "The National Survey on Milk Adulteration-2011 conducted by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India suggests the doubtful quality of milk as a major constraint behind booming of this industry. The poor quality check has increased people's worries and they have started avoiding consumption of milk products, especially sweets. One can see the trend during festivals."
The letter said, "Doctors can check only synthetic adulteration and the poor quality; they cannot go in depth of other ailments and viruses."
Animal husbandry director Dr HS Sandha said, "Since vets know the chemistry and metabolism of animals better than that of doctors, we can better check the quality of their products and study doubts."
Experts said processing, value addition and quality control of milk and meat needed special focus because of perishable nature of the produce, especially keeping in view the increased demand for protein across India.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, the average animal protein intake through milk, egg and meat in India is 10.8 g as compared to 57.2 g in developed countries. In the past few years, the demand to get more protein has increased.Ranike said he would take up the matter with the chief minister.
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Health and family welfare director Dr Ashok Nayyar termed the issue as unnecessary."We know what is fit for human consumption. Vets can only tell you about animal ailments. Our experts are doing a pretty good job. If vets want, they can assist us," he said.