Thiruvananthapuram: Consumption of raw fresh milk could pose serious health hazards with lab reports confirming the presence of toxic aflatoxin in unpasteurised milk sold in the state.
The Kerala Commissionerate of Food Safety (KCFS) has found the presence of aflatoxin in 53 samples collected from dairy farms across the state as part of a special drive. The samples were tested at a private NABL-accredited lab in Kochi which confirmed the presence of aflatoxin.
As per the standards prescribed by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), the permissible level of aflatoxin in milk is 0.5 PPB (parts per billion) microgram per kilogram. However, the levels were found to be above permissible levels.
An official said that the samples were collected as part of a Snapshot Milk Quality Survey launched by the FSSAI. It plans to collect over 2,800 samples from 130 cities in the country to assess the quality of milk.
“Here we collected around 53 samples and tested them. The focus is on finding adulterants and other harmful contents in milk. The results confirm the presence of aflatoxin in some of the samples,” said the official. The food safety authorities are gearing up for more studies.
“Our labs don’t have the facility to check the level of aflatoxin. We are planning to intervene in the dairy farms to check the contamination of milk,” the official added.
Poor quality or contaminated cattle feed was mainly responsible for the presence of aflatoxin in unpasteurised milk. “Pasteurisation of milk to an extent helps cut down the presence of toxins. The dairy farms are not serving high quality or safe feed to the cattle. The farms purchase breads that are non-edible after the expiration date in bulk quantities for feeding the cattle which is dangerous for both cattle and humans. The quality of the cattle feed is often compromised and nobody looks for its expiration date,” said the official.
Cattle or animal feed doesn’t come under the purview of Food Safety and Standards Act, which covers only food items consumed by humans. “We cannot take action because this doesn’t come under the purview of the Act. Now the centre is planning to amend the Act to bring cattle or animal feed under the food safety Act,” said the official....