How dangerous it is to drink loose milk


Ref.: E&R/PR/AR/Milk/2017

Press Release

Grahak Sathi reveals how dangerous it is to drink loose milk

*Our tests found 70% of loose milk samples unfit for human consumption
* Samples from door-to-door vendors also found of very poor quality

Ahmedabad, 24July2017

Do you buy loose milk because you think it is fresh, healthy, tasty and chemical free? If so, stop at once. Grahak Sathi (Aug-Sep 2017), the National Consumer Magazine in Hindi published by Consumer Education and Research Centre (CERC), Ahmedabad released findings of its in-house laboratory on 55 samples of loose milk. Shockingly, the findings revealed that 70% of the samples were unfit for human consumption.

Alarming findings

Milk quality is undermined by adulteration, contamination and microbial content (presence of germs). To address the concern related to microbial content, we tested 55 loose milk samples collected from different areas of Ahmedabad. Fifty samples were from dairies and five from door-to-door vendors. The areas were selected so as to cover all parts of the city.

They included Asarva, Chandlodiya, Gota, Jamalpur, Memnagar, Motera, Naranpura, Paldi, Ranip, Shahibaug, Shahpur, Thaltej, Vastrapur, Vadaj and Vejalpur.All the samples were tested for three microbiological parameters – MBRT(Methylene Blue Reduction Test), Plate Count and Coliforms – as per the Indian Standards.

Coliforms: To our alarm, 38 out of the 55 loose samples of milk contained Coliform bacteria over the limit. The presence of these microorganisms indicates possible faecal contamination.  Coliforms are generally destroyed during pasteurization. If Coliforms are absent in 1:100 dilution, only then is the milk of satisfactory quality. Coliforms can cause bloody diarrhoea, vomiting, urinary tract infections and typhoid. Samples contaminated with coliforms would have to be thoroughly boiled or pasteurized before consumption.

Fair to poor grading: 31 of the 55 samples were graded fair to poor in the two other tests measuring contamination by bacteria which can cause gastroenteritis, food poisoning and intestinal irritation. As milk is largely consumed by vulnerable groups such as infants, young children and the elderly, this is a grave concern.


Price difference

The average price of the samples of loose milk we tested was Rs. 20 for 500 ml. The average price of branded milk ranges from Rs. 20-26 for 500 ml depending on the variant (skimmed, toned or full fat).The difference in price between packaged pasteurized milk and loose milk is marginal. It is not worth the risk of consuming loose milk.


The problem

India is the largest producer and consumer of milk in the world. But, only 25-30% of the milk is pasteurized and packed by the organized dairy sector. The remaining milk is either locally consumed or handled by the unorganized sector in an unhygienic manner. As a result, the consumer receives milk of questionable quality. Shockingly, a survey conducted by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) in 2012 found 68% of the milk in the country to be contaminated.

Quality concerns
  1. Adulteration: Milk is commonly diluted with water. This not only reduces its nutritional value, but contaminated water can cause health problems. Other adulterants include starch, detergents, caustic soda, fertilizers like urea and ammonium sulphate, and white paint.
  2. Contamination: Residues of antibiotics and hormones given to cattle get into the milk. Pesticides and heavy metals also find their way into milk. Cattle in urban areas roam the streets foraging for food and end up eating large quantities of plastic. This can make the milk they produce toxic.
  3. Microbial content: Milk is a perfect medium for the growth of microorganisms due to its high nutritive value and high moisture content. Microbial content is determined by health of the milch animal (cow or buffalo), its living conditions and cleanliness of the people who milk the animal and the storage vessels. If the animals are not cleaned properly, their waste can make its way into the milk during milking. Once microorganisms enter milk, they multiply due to warm ambient temperature resulting in fast deterioration of the product.
Urgent action needed
  • To procure milk we need healthy milch animals. The animals should be kept in clean surroundings and fed nourishing food.
  • Hygiene needs to be practiced while milking, collection, storage and distribution.
  • Strict action should be taken against adulterators.
  • Milk and dairy products are sourced from several million farmers in India. However, regulations do not cover these farmers.
  • Consumers should be made aware of the hazards of buying loose milk.


What consumers can do
  • Avoid raw milk sold loose in local dairies and by door-to-door milk vendors.
  • If you do buy raw milk, drink it only after boiling. Boil pasteurized milk too.
  • While boiling, keep on stirring. Cool the milk quickly to minimise the loss of vitamins, minerals and protein.
  • Store milk in the refrigerator after boiling to minimise bacterial contamination.
  • Keep fresh milk cold, sealed (so it won’t absorb other flavours and odours), and in the dark.
  • Destroy milk packets before discarding them. Don’t sell them as they are recycled by unscrupulous adulterators.


Grahak Sathi’s conclusion

Gone are the days when cattle grazed in lush green fields and you could be assured of getting milk from healthy, well-fed animals. Today, milch animals – cows and buffaloes – are kept in cramped sheds, knee-deep in mud and dung and suffer from skin diseases and tuberculosis. They eat garbage and plastic instead of nutritious fodder. Then, comes the lack of hygiene practised while milking, collection, storage and distribution. You can’t trust local doodhwallas to adhere to the safety standards. Today, it is vital to buy only packed and pasteurized milk.

To read the complete story click on (

For further information please contact

Ms Pritee Shah (O) 079-27489945/46   (M) +91 99048 63838

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