Through a letter dated 24 September 2019 the FSSAI has directed all Commissioners of Food Safety of all States and UTs as well as all Central Licensing Authorities to ensure the availability of safe milk and milk products to all consumers in the country.
FSSAI has taken note of the several concerns reported in the media and raised by consumer groups and other stakeholders, relating to the safety and quality of milk and milk products in the country. In this regard FSSAI is fully committed to ensure the availability of safe milk and milk products throughout the country and hence from time to time the Apex Food Authority has issued detailed guidelines/ advisories.
It is unfortunate that in recent times there have been reports of adulteration and other malpractices with regard to milk and milk products. The FSSAI has in particular taken note of a recent article that appeared in a weekly magazine and which has raised concerns about safety of milk and milk products. The FSSAI has thought it fit to address the concerns raised in the article and hence has directed all Food Safety Commissioners and Central Licensing Authorities to take appropriate action.
The FSSAI has asked them to take up the following issues on priority.
- A strict vigil should be maintained on all milk chilling units so as to eliminate all chances of adulteration or production of any spurious milk so that there is no chance of such milk entering the milk value chain. FSSAI has advised that in case of any violation stringent action must be taken against the culprits as per the provisions of the FSS Act 2006, and rules and regulations framed under this Act.
- Surveillance must be intensified during the festive season when the demand for milk and milk products increases.
- The prolonged tenure of Food Safety Officers (FSOs) at the same or nearby stations and conflict of interest (in case of family interest in the dairy business) may lead to the development of collusion and therefore, FSSAI has advised that States must follow a policy of periodic transfers.
- FSSAI has asked the FSOs to generate local intelligence regarding the malpractices which expectedly will be more prevalent at the local levels.
- The testing and enforcement infrastructure both physical as well as human should be strengthened to ensure that a strict surveillance is maintained to check the malpractices of adulteration effectively.
The FSSAI has stated that it is only through regular testing and quality check at all levels that the milk value addition chain can be fully equipped to supply safe milk and milk products. The FSSAI has further reiterated the need for initiating immediate action on the above-mentioned suggestions and share with the FSSAI the actions taken in this regard.