Your Milk is Safe says FSSAI, WHO raised doubts-Whom to believe?

Pashu Sandesh, 15th November 2018

Amid the growing concern about the health hazards associated due to adulterated milk, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) an apex Government body monitoring the Food standard in India, has issued its survey report putting to rest at least for now all the doubts about the safety of Milk in India.

FSSAI has conducted a survey over a period of 6 months, between May to October 2018 and concluded that over 90% samples collected during the period were found safe. 

The concern over the safety of milk consumed in India raised on many occasions and recently an AWBI member has claimed that the 70% milk used for human consumption in our country do not meet the standards of FSSAI. 

FSSAI CEO Pawan Agarwal refutes the claim. According to him “There is a fake report going around that says that a large number of Indians are at great risk of serious diseases due to consumption of heavily contaminated milk. However, there is no such evidence for such an inference,” Agarwal said.

However The National Survey on Milk Adulteration 2011, a snap shot survey, was conducted to check the contaminants in milk, especially liquid milk, throughout the country. The study found that due to lack of hygiene and sanitation in milk handling and packaging, detergents (used for cleansing) are not removed and find their way into the milk. Many a time, detergents are deliberately added to milk. The survey report notes that the consumption of milk with detergents in hazardous to health. About eight per cent samples were found to have detergents. Other contaminants like urea, starch, glucose and formalin, too, are used as adulterants. FSSAI tested a total of 1,791 samples. The most common adulterant found in the survey was water. 

Now the interim survey interim report of the National Milk Quality Survey, 2018 , Food Safety and Standards Authority of India said that, in a large number of samples examined , very few samples were found to be adulterated. As per FSSAI, this is by far the largest systematic survey of milk, both in terms of sample size — 6,432 samples — and the number of parameters as it considered 4 quality parameters, 12 adulterants; and 4 contaminants — 93 antibiotics residues, 18 pesticides residues, Aflatoxin M1 and Ammonium Sulphate.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) had recently issued an advisory to the Government of India stating that if adulteration of milk and milk products is not checked immediately, 87 per cent of citizens would be suffering from serious diseases like cancer by the year 2025.

The two reports by the FSSAI and the warning issued by the WHO are sufficient to create doubts in the mind of consumers. It is certain that the adulteration of milk is a big problem in India and strict laws should be made and implemented to check the menace otherwise we are looking to fight diseases which could otherwise be best avoided. Adulteration of Milk could also affect the outlook of international community toward the Indian Milk Market making serious dents on Milk and Milk product exports.