Did you know that consuming adulterated milk can cause deadly diseases like cancer and lead you to pay an arm and a leg for it?
India has emerged as the largest dairy producer, accounting for 18.5% of total milk production globally. According to the Edelweiss report in the previous year on the Indian Dairy industry, the increasing consumer maturity and demand for value-added products are set to drive 15-20% CAGR (Compound Annual Growth) over 2016-20 to attain a value of Rs 9.4 Trillion. Having a current worth of Rs 5.4 Trillion, the Indian Dairy sector has progressed from being a milk deficit country in 1970 with 20 million MT milk production to the largest milk producer across the world with 164 million MT milk production in 2016-17. A slew of companies are investing heavily in the dairy sector, given the massive opportunity of launching new and innovative products for the upper spectrum of the consumer market. However, there is a severe crisis looming over the milk industry amidst its consistent growth. And that we see as ‘milk adulteration’ causing an inordinate impact as far as health and safety standards are concerned. Here, we see how milk contamination flows into the dairy supply chain and ways to cut back on the same.
Sources of Milk Adulteration
- A significant part (80%) of the daily milk production is channeled through the unorganized sector, mainly by small-scale producers with an average two milch animals, while the rest of the part (20%) is sourced through organized or large dairy farms. The milk coming from this segment is mostly of good quality and pasteurized but the one being obtained from the unorganized sector is not.
- Another critical problem is the milk sold by the vendors in rural and urban areas after collecting it from local milk producers. The quality of the loose milk being sold does not conform to the hygiene standards and is unsuitable for consumption, thereby, subjecting the consumers to severe health risks. Unpasteurized and un-cooled milk is toxic and reveals a ground for catching germs and harmful bacteria causing diseases.
- Based on National Survey on Adulteration of Milk conducted by the FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) in 2012 in 33 states of India, about 68% of the milk samples failed to adhere to the Indian food laws. The most common adulterant was found to be water while the other additives included skim milk powder, glucose, and detergent.
- Water that is used as a contaminant may be unfiltered and spreads water-borne diseases while lowering the nutritional value of milk. The detergent-contaminated milk poses a dangerous health hazard which shows lack of sterility while handling milk.
Ways to Prevent Milk Adulteration
- To help the dairy industry to grow sustainably and at a steady pace, it is essential to identify the areas where loopholes persist and take measures to modernize the dairy supply chain and obtain pollutant-free, good quality milk.
- The first step includes suggesting right cattle for management and rearing at dairy farms. Excellent and healthy feed must be fed to the milch animals for their development, well-being and high milk production. Employing a cattle management software that suggests proper ration balancing program could be a great help.
- Milk testing machines must be employed at village milk collection centers and dairy unions to analyze milk quality and check the milk for contamination. Fatomatic and Milk Analyzers are mostly used to determine fat, SNF, water proportion and density in milk. Plus, bulk Milk Cooling systems must be set up to monitor and maintain the desired milk quality, hence, reducing bacteria growth.
- The subsequent step is to revitalize the milk processing and cold chain setup. It is not possible to transport fresh milk to areas beyond a specific periphery (200 km), so multiple collections, processing and distribution points should be established to preserve milk quality and its shelf-life.
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