Milk samples from Telangana, followed by Madhya Pradesh and Kerala, accounted for the highest number of cases of adulteration, according to a national milk sample safety quality survey released by the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) here on Friday.
The study noted that processed milk, including that of major brands, failed to meet the prescribed quality norm in 37.7% of the total samples tested, and in the safety parameters too, 10.4% of the processed milk samples were non-compliant.
FSSAI CEO Pawan Agarwal explained that the study collected a total 6,432 milk samples from 1,103 towns and cities between May and October 2018 in all States and Union Territories. About 40.5% of the total sample was processed milk, while the rest was raw milk.
“10.4% of the total processed milk samples (of 2,607) failed to comply with the FSSAI norm as contaminants like aflatoxin-M1, antibiotics and pesticides were found. In case of raw milk, non-compliance was at an even higher rate of 47% of the total samples of 3,825,” he said.
In terms of quality, the survey found that 37.7% of the total sample of processed milk did not comply with quality parameters because the presence of contaminants such as fats, Maltodextrin and sugar were above permissible limits.
Following this report, the FSSAI has now directed the organised dairy sector to strictly start complying with the quality norms by January 1, 2020.
“The common man believes that adulteration is more in milk. But our study shows that contamination was more a serious problem than adulteration. It is unacceptable to see contaminants in processed milk, including in big brands,” said Mr. Agarwal.
Aflatoxin a worry
He added that the problem of Aflatoxin-M1 is more dominant in processed milk than raw milk. Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Kerala were top three States where Aflatoxin residue was found the most, noted the report. In large doses, aflatoxins can be life threatening, usually through damage to liver.
Aflatoxin-M1 comes in the milk through feed and fodder that are currently not regulated in the country, and it is for the first time that such a detailed survey of the presence of this residue in milk has been done in India. “There is no proper lab to test this residue in the country. Efforts are being made to invest in testing machines that can detect the residue of Aflatoxin-M1,” added Mr. Aggarwal.
India is the world’s largest producer of milk. The total estimated milk production in the country was 176.35 million tonnes during 2017-18.