Aware of adulteration but helpless: citizens
Worry that the milk they buy could be adulterated and polluted is something many city residents live with.
"There is no doubt that the milk we get is adulterated with water. We can just hope that it does not cause any serious health problems because water can be a source of polluting bacteria," says Varun Sharma, a resident of Vile Parle.
That he has cause for worry was borne out when Hindustan Times tested seven samples of milk packaged by four well-known brands bought from across the city. All seven samples had coliform bacteria in them.
Nandini Gupta, a Borivli resident, says: "I used to buy milk from the local milkman but always sensed a difference in texture, colour and sometimes a stale smell. I shifted to packaged milk but found no difference. That is when I started worrying about adulteration."
Paediatrician Samir Dalwai wants strict action to check adulteration as, he points out, milk is a vital ingredient in the daily diet of the young and the elderly and both age groups are especially susceptible to infections. "There has been an increase in autism cases recently. I wonder if the reason is environmental pollution and food adulteration. A study is required to gauge the extent of health effects due to adulteration or any other form of environmental pollution on the human body," he says.
The Food Safety and Standards Act, which came into effect on August 5, 2011, is aimed at checking adulteration of food and drink. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in Mumbai also carries out random raids on various milk collection centres and suppliers. This June, the FDA busted a gang and seized around 998 litres of adulterated milk from Khar and Kandivli.