The milk you drink may be adulterated. Of the total milk samples tested in the last two years in Jharkhand, 80% did not conform to standards and one-fourth were found to contain traces of chemicals, said food safety officials.
Traces of glucose, detergent, fat urea and skim milk powder (SMP) were found in the samples, they said.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and the Prevention of Food and Adulteration Act have set the quality guidelines.
The food safety department randomly collected 2585 milk samples from across the state between September 2013 and June 2015.
The samples were not tested for oxytocin, a hormonal drug used to increase cow’s milk production and also to cause early puberty among girls forced into prostitution.
Jharkhand Food Testing Laboratory’s chief food analyst JK Singh said, “Jharkhand doesn’t have the expertise to test milk, fruits or vegetables for oxytocin. We just have the facilities to find chemical traces.” The state will have to send samples to national labs for oxytocin tests, he added.
Hindustan Times had exposed unchecked use of oxytocin in a July 13 report – ‘Milk, fruits and vegetables laced with chemicals induce early puberty’.
“We don’t take our milk from vendors in urban areas. Use of oxytocin and other chemicals is rampant there. Food safety officials must crack down on milkmen going for adulteration,” said VS Khanna, managing director of Jharkhand Milk-Fed, a milk cooperative on the lines of AMUL that sources milk from 42000 villagers.
Asked about action, director-in-chief (food safety) Dr Parveen Chandra said, “We are not responsible for catching people for using oxytocin or other chemicals. For test reports, please ask the food analyst.”
Food safety officials said dearth of officers was also to be blamed for the shabby state of food sampling and testing in Jharkhand.
Jharkhand with a population of 3.29 crore has just three food safety officers and seven food inspectors. More staff is needed to keep tabs on more than 10000 milk booths in the state, officials said.