Written by Talent KAS

Related Topics: Survey & Reports, FSSAI


In the backdrop of the perception that milk in India is largely adulterated, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) carried out a survey on safety and quality of liquid milk in the country, referred to as ‘National Milk Safety and Quality Survey 2018’.

About the Survey

  • This is the first-of-its kind comprehensive survey conducted by FSSAI.
  • The survey was conducted from May 2018 to October 2018 covering all states and UTs.
  • FSSAI believes that the outcome of the survey will help dispel misinformation and myths regarding safety of liquid milk in the country.
  • The survey findings will be used to identify regions in various states where liquid milk quality and safety issues are more prevalent and require stepping-up in surveillance and enforcement efforts.

Findings of the Survey

  • Out of the total 6,432 samples of liquid milk which were tested, 456 samples (7.1 per cent) were found to be unsafe due to contaminants such as Aflatoxin-M1, antibiotics or pesticides.
  • Of these 456 samples, only 12 samples were found have been “deliberately adulterated” through use of adulterants such as urea, hydrogen peroxide, detergent or urea.
  • 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.

  • In case of raw milk, non-compliance was at an even higher rate of 47% of the total samples of 3,825.
  • For the first time, a quantitative analysis of all samples that failed on account of adulterants and contaminants has been done.
  • This analysis has shown that level of adulterants and contaminants in failed samples is not high, and unlikely to pose serious threat to human health.
  • Overall, above 93% of the samples that is 5976 out of 6,432 samples were found to be absolutely safe for human consumption.
  • About 41% samples fall short of one or another quality parameter or standard and were found to be non-compliant, but were found to be safe for consumption.
  • The non-compliance is on account of low fat or low SNF (solids not fat), two key quality parameters both in raw and processed milk.

Way Forward

  • The survey results indicate clearly that milk being sold in India is largely safe for consumption.
  • While the survey results effectively counter wrong perception of large scale milk adulteration in India, but noncompliance on quality parameters, particularly in processed milk is a matter of concern.
  • Safety concerns due to contaminants should be addressed by monitoring the quality of cattle feed that appears to be a potential source of contamination of milk.
  • A standardized ‘Scheme of Testing and Inspection (STI)’ of milk by dairy processors at different stages of the value chain developed by FSSAI is a right step in this direction to ensure safety and quality of liquid milk in the country.

[Source: The Hindu,]

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