Ruchika M. Khanna, Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, January 12 In the land of milk, the quality of milk that you get in your home every morning is simply dependent on the milkman. No wonder, Punjab has gained notoriety for having high levels of adulteration in the milk sold across the state.
From adding water to packaged milk before selling it as loose milk to adding glucose powder and/or skimmed milk powder (SMP) in milk, milkmen are doing it all to make a quick buck. Thus the milk that you get each morning is certainly not as healthy as you would want it to be. The only solace is that harmful substances like urea, detergents or non-fat solids are not being used by the milkmen before he delivers it at your doorstep.
The National Survey on Milk Adulteration 2011 has revealed that 81 per cent of the milk supplied in Punjab is adulterated or substandard. This study says that 88 of the 109 samples taken by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India were found not conforming to standards. Most of the adulteration was found in the milk which is sold loose while the packaged milk samplers were found to be intact.
The average milk production in Punjab is around 257 lakh litres per day. Of this, 55 per cent of milk is retained by dairymen for personal use and 25 per cent is procured by organised dairy players for supplying it as packaged milk and other milk products. The remaining 20 per cent is procured by milkmen and sweet meat sellers, and it is in this milk that maximum adulteration has been found.
Though officials of Milkfed, Punjab, said they had not yet seen the report, they confirmed the supply of adulterated milk by milkmen in the state. “In case of packaged milk, all companies have a strict quality control, but there is no check on the quality of loose milk that a vast majority of the population still consumes. In the past, we have held camps where we asked consumers to get their milk samples checked. Even now, we ask consumers to get the samples at any of our Verka milk plant for a quality check,” said a senior official in R&D cell of Milkfed.
He said in most cases, the milkmen buy full cream packaged milk and then dilute it with water. “This reduces the fat content in the milk, although the milk is not without fats,” said the official.
- As per a national survey, 88 of the 109 samples taken by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India were found not conforming to standards
- Most of the adulteration was found in the milk which is sold loose by milkmen while the packaged milk samples were found to be intact
- From adding water to packaged milk to adding glucose powder or skimmed milk powder, milkmen are doing it all to make a quick buck