- At Farmer/Farm Owner level
- At Collector/Agent level
- At Brand level
- How to save yourself?
- Concluding Note
Problems of Adulterated Milk in India: How are you being scammed?
Did you know that a whopping 79% of the milk sold in the open market in Maharashtra is not even close to FSSAI standards of milk?
Shocking , isn’t it?
We are sure you must have seen multiple raids of police in some of the most reputed sweet houses that used detergent powder to make artificial milk and then sweets. Have you ever thought:
- Is detergent the only ingredient in making artificial milk?
- How does this adulteration of milk happen?
- Are farm owners also involved in this adulteration process?
- What other ingredients do they use?
- Can we save ourselves from these scams?
Let’s find out the answers to all of these questions with the lens of every participant in the supply chain of the milk.
When we said that a whopping 79% of the milk sold in the open market in Maharashtra is not even close to FSSAI standards of milk, unfortunately, we were not joking. Below is a tabular representation of a test conducted by the Consumer Guidance Society of India (CGSI) in 2019. CGSI is a non-profit making, non-political voluntary consumer organization that keeps a check on producers and manufacturers regarding their standards of producing a product.
Source: Consumer Guidance Society of India (CGSI)
Out of the total milk samples (73) in branded packaging category, only 11 samples were deemed fit according to FSSAI standards. Only 15% of branded milk followed FSSAI standards, that’s it. Scary, isn’t it?
Now that we have understood the milk adulteration condition in India, let us see how every participant in the supply chain of the milk is contributing towards milk adulteration.
1. At Farmer/Farm Owner level
Do you still think that people sitting in shady rooms with some chemicals are the only ones responsible for the bad quality of the milk in India? Well, that’s not the case here. It all starts at the farmer/farm owner level. Here are some of the reasons/adulteration methods :
Cheap Fodder: This is the initiation point of low-quality milk. Farm owners try to reduce their operating costs by shifting towards low-quality fodder.
Living Condition of Cattle: When cattle are just treated as a source of income, farm owners try to cheap out on the living conditions of the cattle which eventually leads to lower quality of the milk.
Chemicals: urea, detergent, or salt are used as an adulterant to either increase the whiteness of the milk or the shelf life of the milk. The list of chemicals does not just stop here. Boric acid and nitrates are also two other adulterants used.
Water: And how can we forget the most common substance that is used to increase the volume of the milk. While it does not deteriorate the quality of the milk but for sure it dilutes the concentration of the protein and other minerals in the milk.
2. At Collector/Agent level
Imagine yourself as a collector of this already adulterated milk. Your job is to collect milk from 2-3 villages every day and sell it to milk brands. What will you wish for?
That the milk you collect remains fresh for a long time before you sell it to the brands, isn’t it?
What will you do to prolong the freshness of the milk?
Well, ideally you need cold-chain infrastructure, but of course, most of the milk collectors lack this infrastructure and therefore they use formalin and hydrogen peroxide to keep the milk fresh. This basically means the addition of chemicals in already adulterated milk!
3. At Brand level
Now that the brand has already received twice adulterated milk, the brand will also add some preservatives and of course their different milk powders to create a variety of milk under their brand name. This is the third layer of chemicals being added to the fresh milk.
How to save yourself?
Now that we have successfully established that the milk you are drinking is not 100% pure, let us find some ways to save ourselves from adulterated milk.
- Shelf Life: If the company is offering an extended shelf life on their milk, then try to maintain a distance from the milk because the increased shelf life is only possible with the help of preservatives.
- Test: If you are using milk from a local person owning some cows and delivering the milk every day to your home/apartment, then you are basically buying milk every day blindly. Food Safety and Standards of India has devised some quick home test steps to check the adulteration of the milk. Here is a detailed blog to help you out:
- Direct from Farm Delivery: If you want 100% natural milk, the most important step is to choose such brands that deliver directly from farms, ideally within 8-10 hours of milking.
It was our duty to inform you that the milk you are drinking is not 100% natural and has gone through many adulteration processes. We hope that next time when you choose your milk, you just don’t choose any milk by its brand value or just because you trust your neighbor’s recommendation.
We hope this blog will help you in choosing the right milk for you. Choose wise, choose healthy, till then,
Happy healthy shopping!