‘41% milk samples collected from state unfit for consumption’Updated: Oct 30, 2019, 00:16 IST
If you believe that the milk you are drinking is safe, think again. In a nation-wide study conducted by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), the apex food regulating body found 41% of the milk samples collected from Maharashtra were unfit for human consumption.
The study, published by the FSSAI last week, also revealed that the samples found from Maharashtra contained residues of antibiotics and carcinogenic agent aflatoxin M1.
To evaluate the quality of milk, FSSAI collected 6,432 samples from across 1,103 cities across the country. In Maharashtra, which produces 10,402 tonnes of milk each year, the FSSAI collected 678 samples from 98 towns. Out of these, 276 were found to be non-compliant with respect to quality and safety standards for consumption.
Despite repeated attempts, Dr Yogesh Kamat, director (Mumbai regional office), FSSAI, was unavailable for a comment. However, Dr Krishna Madhukar, deputy director of FSSAI, said that she is yet to receive a copy of the report. “I would be able to comment on it after getting the report. But on an everyday basis, we keep a check on the quality of milk supplied, to prevent the consumption of contaminated milk among consumers,” he said.
The survey also revealed that nine samples contained aflatoxin M1 (AFM1), which has been known to cause cancer.
“There are two ways in which this substance can contaminate milk. It can either pass into milk if the cattle is fed with fodder contaminated with aflatoxin, or if the milk produced by the cattle develops fungi-producing aflatoxin. The latter is quite rare in India and thus makes it more important to regulate the fodder given to cattle in sheds,” said Dr JC Khanna, director of the veterinary hospital in Parel.
The survey also found that 20 milk samples had antibiotics. According to the doctors, this can lead to development of antibiotic resistance among consumers.
Doctors are also of the opinion that the cattle owners often use antibiotics to suppress infections in cattle without a proper prescription. “If a batch of milk contains antibiotics at a level above the tolerance limit of 10µg (micrograms)/litre of milk, then it has potential concerns. This could be a cause of acquired antibiotic resistance. When milk contains antibiotics it may lead to antibiotic resistance among babies,” said Dr Vikrant Shah, consulting physician, intensivist and infection disease specialist, Zen Multispeciality Hospital Chembur.
Previously, South Korea-based Konkuk University, in its report titled, ‘Occurrence and analysis of aflatoxin M1 in milk produced by Indian dairy species’, had also stated about the presence of AFM1 in 46.5% of the samples it had collected for a study in India. “Most of the developed countries have set or proposed legal regulations for AFM1 levels in dairy products. Analytical methods that combine simplicity, a high detection sensitivity and a high analytical throughput, are required for the effective screening AFM1 in food,” the Seoul-based university’s report had suggested.