Milk Truths

  • Posted by CERC India
  • Posted in

  • We tested 8 brands of packed Toned milk, 10 brands of Standardised variety, 10 brands of Whole (Full Cream) milk and 2 samples of milk sold loose in Ahmedabad. All the brands were in 500 ml packs. We tested these brands on 40 parameters of safety, quality and volume.
  • All 28 brands as well as the two loose samples failed in microbiological parameters specified by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). Most of the brands had Coliforms and E.coliwhich may cause gastroenteritis and urinary tract infections. All 3 varieties of Uttam and the loose milk from Ambica Dairy contained Staphylococcus aureus which may lead to food poisoning. The Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) Act, which is mandatory, does not cover microbial contamination, a serious health issue.
  • Of the three varieties of packed milk, Gayatri Standardised and, Royal 7%, Sampoorna and Shresth from the Whole milk group had less than the required volume (permissible error of 10 ml in a 500 ml pack) permitted in the Standards of Weights and Measures Act (1975). They measured 489 ml, 483 ml and 486 ml in a 500 ml pack.
  • In the test for milk fat which ensures taste and quality, 4 brands of Toned mil, 9 of Standardise, 6 brands of Whole milk and both the loose samples failed.
  • The Solids-Not-Fat (SNF) parameter warns of adulteration and indicates lack of proper nutrients in milk. Kapoor (Taaza) from the Toned group, Sampoorna (Whole) and both the loose samples failed to meet the BIS and the PFA Act stipulations.
  • The BIS requires milk to be free from preservatives. Hypochlorite and chloramine residues were found in 1 Toned, 7 Standardised, 3 Whole milk brands, and in 1 loose milk sample. This may happen when the handling equipment is cleaned with chlorine sterilisers and not properly rinsed with water, states the BIS.
  • Only Gokul and Uttam (both Standardised) and the loose milk from Ambica Dairy were totally free of pesticides.
  • All the tested brands contained one or more heavy metals like copper, lead, zinc, arsenic, cadmium and mercury, though within the limits.
  • There are no specifications in the BIS or the PFA Act for important parameters like antibiotic residues, pH, E.coli and S.aureus.
  • Royal had the highest label price in all the three categories. Amul and Uttam were the cheapest.
  • None of the brands displayed the ‘Best Before’ date on the label. Of late, Amul and Uttam have started giving the date of packing.
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