Chennai: Heightening the pitch in his war on adulterating private dairies, state Dairy Minister K.T. Rajenthra Balaji on Tuesday alleged that tests on milk powder manufactured by Nestle and Reliance confirmed they contained “caustic soda and bleaching powder”.
Addressing a crowded press conference at his residence here, he said apart from his department initiating action against the manufacturers, complaints would also be sent to the Prime Minister and other appropriate agencies for stern action as the two had resorted to ‘unethical’ and ‘dangerous’ adulteration to convert spoilt milk into milk powder.
The Minister exhibited the packets of the two companies at the media meet, apart from distributing photocopies of the test results from “a private lab approved by the Union Government”. The testing of samples was done on June 12 and 13 upon request from the ‘Vikadan Group’ of publications. The test results were obtained through a lawyer and a journalist, Minister Balaji said.
He said families often used milk powder to feed children and chemical-contaminated milk powder was dangerous. “Caustic soda is a slow killer”, he said, adding that Aavin milk and dairy products have been tested “absolutely clean and safe”.
“I am not accusing all the private dairies of adulteration, but the truth is some of them do that”, he said, recalling that ever since he raised the issue of milk adulterators, there was criticism from some quarters that he was targeting private dairies with ulterior motives and there were questions about the authenticity of the testing lab in the government's facility at Madhavaram.
Also, there have been threatening calls from anonymous bullies, said the Minister. “They seem to be from abroad. If they were from here, I would have landed at their houses. I don't know, they may be up to something but I will not be cowed down”, he said.
He said Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami had given him the green signal to go ahead with his war against adulterators. “I am showing you just these two cases of detection now but let me assure you there are more coming. I will be meeting you (media) frequently for this. And not just milk, I will also be going after other adulterators too”.
He said he had been deeply concerned about adulteration for almost a decade since two persons had died in his family due to cancer. “Adulterated food causes a whole lot of ailments, including cancer”, said the Minister.
‘Country cow milk soon’: State Dairy Minister Rajendra Balaji said milk from native breed of cattle was “certainly better and more nutritious” than the imported stock now used, mostly, in the cooperative dairies that supplied milk to Aavin. “You have given us this idea now, so we will certainly introduce country cow milk soon in Aavin products”, said the minister.
Nestle rejects allegations
Nestle India on Tuesday rejected allegations levelled by Dairy Development Minister K.T. Rajenthra Balaji as “totally untrue and incorrect” and that their milk powder is 100 per cent safe for consumption.
“We have come across some media reports alleging that our product EVERYDAY Dairy Whitener contains caustic soda and bleaching powder. This is totally untrue and incorrect. We strongly disagree with these reports and confirm that EVERYDAY Dairy Whitener is 100% safe for consumption and does not contain substances as mentioned in media reports,” a spokesperson for Nestle India said....