Milk and dairy product adulteration is a very serious issue taking place mostly in developing and third world countries all around the world. Instances of this have been seen in India for a long time now. In a nationwide studyconducted by the FSSAI (food safety regulatory authority of India), it was observed that 68.7% milk and milk products sold in our country is not regulated or certified by the government bodies. Out of this 82.6% products are adulterated in one form or the other. Adulteration can be due to natural or man-made. Natural adulteration may happen due to un-hygienic milking processes and man-made adulteration is an intentional chemical additives usage for diverse malicious reasons.
What is adulteration?
Adulteration is the addition of some chemical substances to a product to increase its quality and quantity. It not only takes into account the addition and removal but also contamination taking place during the growth, storage or transport of the item. Adulterated food is dangerous because it may be toxic and can affect health and it could deprive nutrients essential for proper growth and development.
How is cow’s milk adulterated?
Cow’s milk is adulterated at different stages:-
Farmer level: – Cheap commercial fodder bought by farmers is adulterated with toxic chemicals; also growth hormones are used to raise cows to boost their milk yields. In remote areas, a lot of problems are also caused by poor sanitary and hygiene conditions in which the cow is raised, kept and milked:
Unorganized Dairy: – The unorganized dairy sector consisting of your local milk dairies buy milk from local farmers; as these farmers have no proper cold storage equipment or processing units, they add formalin and hydrogen peroxide to extend its shelf life. Furthermore, the detergents used to wash the containers in which the milk is transported also contaminate the milk. More often than not, they add significant water to the milk to enhance the overall volume of sales.
Commercial Milk Brands: – They get milk from the agents or middlemen and add skimmed milk powder to it to make different variants which are then packed and sold. Also adulteration happens in different formats by adding chemicals and preservatives to give an unnatural boost to the shelf life of packaged milk. Many brands are also found to add harmful chemicals/preservatives to milk to increase its shelf life in the absence of refrigeration facilities across old format retail stores.
How to detect if your milk is adulterated?
Tests that can be done at home
|S.No.||Food Article||Adulterant||Method of detection||Remarks|
|1||Milk||Water||The presence of water can be detected by putting a
drop of milk on a polished slanting surface. The drop
of pure milk flows slowly leaving a white trail behind
it, whereas milk adulterated with water will flow
immediately without leaving a mark.
|2||Starch||Add a few drops of tincture of Iodine or Iodine
solution. Formation of a blue color indicates the
presence of starch.
|Iodine solution is
easily available in the
|3||Urea||Take a teaspoon of milk in a test tube. Add half a
teaspoon of soybean or arhar powder, Mix up the
contents thoroughly by shaking the test tube. After 5
minutes, dip a red litmus paper in it. Remove the
paper after half a minute. A change in color from red
to blue indicates the presence of urea in the milk.
|4||Detergent||Shake 5-10 ml of sample with an equal amount of
water. Lather indicates the presence of detergent
|5||Synthetic milk||Synthetic milk has a bitter aftertaste, gives a soapy
feeling on rubbing between the fingers and turns
yellowish on heating
|Synthetic milk is made
by adding while color
waterpaint, oils, alkali,
urea, and detergent,
|6||Synthetic milk – test for
|The milk can be easily tested using Urease strips.
Color chart in Urease strips helps to arrive at the
quantity of urea present in the milk.
|Urease strip is a bio
strip based on the
|7||Test for Glucose/Invert sugar||Take a strip of the Diacetric strip and dip into the
milk for 30 sec to 1 min. If the strip changes the color
then it shows the sample of milk contains glucose. If
there is no change in the color of the strip, then
glucose is absent.
|Glucose inverts sugar
syrup is added to the
milk increases the
consistency and taste.
The World Health Organization (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 percent of citizens would be suffering from serious diseases like cancer by the year 2025. This brings to notice the ends to which people would go to make a profit. It is fairly simple to detect if your milk has been adulterated as mentioned above. There are also detection kits available. There are also various startups that supply premium and organic milk. It is better to start looking at what milk you are drinking as it better to be safe than sorry.
Do you know if your Milk is Pure or Poison?
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