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Before Diwali, special drive to test adulteration in milk and sweets in Delhi

Usually, starch in the form of potatoes or sweet potatoes is added to milk products, like khoya and chenna. Milk may be laced with water, detergent or urea. For sweets, vanaspati is used instead of ghee and sometime blotting paper is used in sweet curd and rabri.

delhi Updated: Oct 31, 2018 14:45 IST
Anonna Dutt
Anonna Dutt
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
delhi,adulteration,diwali sweets
Delhi’s food safety department has started a special drive to check for adulteration in milk and sweets ahead of Diwali. (HT File / Representational Photo )

Delhi’s food safety department has been conducting a special drive for close to a month now to check for adulteration in milk and milk products that is rampant during the festive season.

“Over the years, we have observed that the adulteration of milk and milk products, especially khoya, is rampant during the festive season. This is because there is a high demand for these products but, of course, the production cannot go up suddenly as the number of cattle remains the same,” said a senior official from Delhi government’s health department.

Usually, starch in the form of potatoes or sweet potatoes is added to milk products, like khoya and chenna. Milk may be laced with water, detergent or urea. For sweets, vanaspati is used instead of ghee and sometime blotting paper is used in sweet curd and rabri.

With Diwali inching closer, the department has also started lifting samples of chocolates, confectionary and bakery items, apart from dry fruits.

“The chances of adulteration in chocolates and cakes is much less than that of milk-based sweets, but because there is an increase in the sales of such products during the festival, the department will test these too. The increased demand also means this is the time when shopkeepers sell old dry fruits that might have gone bad or have insects in them,” said the official.

Food safety officers have lifted 236 samples of milk and milk products from across Delhi since October 8, when the special drive began. The department has already received the reports of 42 such samples. Of these, three samples were found to be in violation. One sample was substandard, one misbranded, and one was found unsafe for consumption.

The food safety department will launch court proceedings against manufacturers and shops selling products that failed the laboratory tests.

The results of 191 other products are still pending. By the time several of these reports come out, Diwali will be over and people would have already consumed the food products.

“It takes nearly two weeks for the reports to come in and even though we started the drive earlier this year, the results are still pending. However, it is not the prosecution that is important. The random testing in itself creates a scare in the market that discourages people from using adulterated products,” the official said.

First Published: Oct 31, 2018 14:45 IST