Against the backdrop of the Supreme Court urging state governments to make milk adulteration punishable with life imprisonment, the state's dairy development department has found up to 45% presence of water in 50% milk samples collected since April.
The tests were conducted by the department under the Food Safety and Standards Act. The mixing of water into milk comes under sub-standard category, which has provision of fine to the guilty.
“Out of the total 2,293 samples of milk, 1,300 samples failed purity tests since April 2013. We have conducted 56 camps for testing milk at various areas in the district so far,” Dilbagh Singh, deputy director of dairy development department, said.
“The tests confirmed presence of up to 45% water in the samples of milk. We can't comment from where the vendors took water to add into milk. But we did not find harmful chemicals in the failed samples,” he said, adding that the report would be forwarded to the district health officer for further action.
Stating that the department was creating awareness among public about the ill-effects of adulterated milk, Singh said the purity test of milk samples were conducted free of cost at the office of dairy development department at 598 L in Model Town.
According to Dr Aroma Oberoi, head of microbiology department, Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH), adulteration in milk could lead to gastroenteritis. “We don't know the type of water being mixed into the milk. If the water is unsafe, the milk could be very harmful for health. Adulterated milk can cause typhoid, fungal infections and kidney failure, if harmful chemicals like urea are being used,” she added.
The Ludhiana health department had also collected some samples of milk this year. District health officer Dr Abnash Kumar expressed ignorance about any information regarding failed milk samples. He then transferred the call to food safety officer Manoj Khosla, who said they could not take any legal action on the reports forward by the dairy development department.
The Supreme Court has recently favoured punishment of life imprisonment to people, who are involved in selling, producing and marketing adulterated milk. The apex court also directed the state governments to make amendments in the laws regarding milk adulteration. The residents have welcomed SC's decision on milk adulteration.
Milk adulteration is a huge menace in the city. Once I sound some residue in the pot after boiling milk. I later came to know that the vendor used to add flour in the milk. Such practices should be dealt with strictly. Adulterators should be given life imprisonment.
Albert, city resident
Refined oil is being used to increase fat in milk, but with this practice the important minerals in milk decrease. People reaping benefits by adulterating food items should be awarded life imprisonment.
Varinder Pathak, a chemistry lecturer
Milk adulteration is a matter of serious concern, as it can cause various health problems. Strict steps should be taken to stop it. I welcome the decision of Supreme Court for recommending life imprisonment for people responsible for adulteration.
Dr Aroma Oberoi, a doctor at CMCH
I am in favour of strict action against those who use harmful chemicals to increase the quality or quantity of milk. Supreme court's directions to state government are a welcome step.
Himani Arora, a student