Through a letter dated 16 October 2018, the FSSAI has asked the all Food Safety Officers and Designated Officers in the States and Union Territories to take up special surveillance drives for milk and milk products. Milk, khoya/khoa, paneer, dahi, and ghee must be specially surveyed for their microbiological quality as well as for the presence of adulterants. Any surveillance must be complemented with enforcement drive during the upcoming festival season.
The special drive has been advised because public confidence in the safety and quality of milk and milk products is low at this time. Since milk and milk products have a short shelf life they are prone to spoilage if they are not stored and handled properly. Also, there are instances of unscrupulous elements or dairy businesses that tend to indulge in acts of deliberate adulteration. Adulteration usually increases during the festival season when the demand for milk and milk products outstrips supply.
Preparing and handling dairy products in conditions that are unhygienic and storage of the products without temperature controls can result in bacteriological contamination and quick quality deterioration. It has been observed that prior to the festival season khoa is prepared months in advance for use during the festival season. The khoya/ khoa is then stored under unhygienic conditions leading to poor microbial quality and visible growth of fungus. Also, dahi is transported in bulk in rusted tin containers from the places of production to distant markets which cause microbial contamination and deterioration during transit.
Economically motivated adulteration of milk and milk products not only results in cheating consumers but a certain type of adulterants can also cause harm to the health of consumers. At the same time, the high level of microbial contamination and the consequent presence of microbial toxins in such products is a serious threat to the health of consumers. Hence the FSSAI has advised active surveillance during the festive season. Also, FSSAI has identified and prepared a list of the most common adulterants used in milk and milk products on the basis of a nation-wide consultation with various stakeholders. The listed adulterants have been given in the annex below.
|Product||Adulterants||Reasons for spoilage and adulteration|
|Urea||Increasing milk solids not fat (SNF) content|
|Skimmed milk powder||Increasing SNF content|
|Detergents||Uniform dispersion of vegetable oils|
|Pulverised soap||Creating white froth|
|Synthetic milk||Mixing with milk to increase volume|
|Vegetable fat/oil||Cheaper substitution of milk fat|
|Hypochlorites and chloromines
compounds formalin, hydrogen peroxide
boric acid, borates salicylic acid and benzoic acid
|Preservation of milk|
|Butter||Vanaspati/ oil||Cheaper substitution of milk fat|
|Ghee||Partially hydrogenated fat (vanaspati)||Cheaper substitution of milk fat|
|Palmolien and artificial flavours|
|Animal body fats|
|Refined vegetable oils
|Paneer||Vegetable oils||Cheaper substitution of milk fat|
|Khoa||Cellulose||Increasing volume/ bulk|
|Dahi||Blotting paper||Improving consistency|
|Carboxy methyl cellulose
|Rabri||Blotting paper||Improving consistency|
|Milk based sweets||Rhodamine B||Cheaper alternatives in place of permitted food colours|
|Lard and tallow in place of ghee or vegetable oils in sweets||Cheaper substitutes used for admixing|
|Cream||Vegetable fat/ oil emulsion||Cheaper substitution of milk fat|