Hyderabad: Mothers at home and teachers in school tell children to have milk because it is good for their health. Terrible news — Telangana might be on top of a dubious list of Indian states in terms of milk adulteration.
The news is confirmed, which would set alarm bells amongst a large section of the population, by a study by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), which has found that milk sold by even major premium brands failed to meet prescribed quality standards.
Of all the milk samples collected from across the country by FSSAI, as much as 37.7 per cent of processed milk samples and 47 per cent of raw milk samples failed to meet prescribed norms. The highest number of adulterated samples were recorded from TS. The other states which reported high cases of adulterations included Madhya Pradesh and Kerala. In actual numbers, 12 out of 6,432 milk samples studied were found to be adulterated.
The study was conducted on 6,432 milk samples collected from 1,103 cities across India between May and October 2018. About 40 per cent of samples were of processed milk while the rest were of raw milk.
Another concern flagged by the study was that more than adulteration, it was the nature of contaminants found which pose a serious health problem.
Sample is smaller, says doctor
These prescribed norms pertain to permissible levels of substances such as alfatoxin-M1, antibiotics and pesticides.
The problem of Alfatoxin-M1 was found to be more dominant in processed milk than raw milk. Highest residue of Alfatoxin was found in samples from Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Kerala. The substance comes into milk through feed and fodder, which is not currently regulated.
Pawan Agarwal, CEO, FSSAI, said, “The study shows that contamination is a bigger problem than adulteration. It is unacceptable to see contaminants in processed milk.”
In safety parameters, 10.4 per cent of 2,607 samples of processed milk were found non-compliant, higher than 4.8 per cent found in raw milk samples. Such a study on alfatoxin residue is the first, according to Agarwal.
In an attempt to check the problem, FSSAI has decided to put in place a “testing and inspection” system across the value chain by January 1, 2020.
However, Ashish Anand, senior general physician, Apollo Hospitals, Jubilee Hills, said that these findings need to taken with a pinch of salt.
“In a country with one billion people, a sample size of 6,000-odd is not adequate of sufficient enough,” he said.
However, Anand said that the study could not be dismissed since contaminants and adulterants in milk were a given.