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SC advises states to make milk adulteration a crime punishable with life imprisonment

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Date:Dec 5, 2013

Food Safety and Standards Act prescribes maximum six months in prison for the offence

The Supreme Court has advised states to amend their laws to make production and marketing of adulterated milk an offence punishable with life imprisonment. At present, the offenders are punished for a maximum six months under the Food Safety and Standards Act.

The observation came during hearing of a public interest petition filed by Achyutanand Tirth, head of the Swami Bhumanand Dharmarth Chikitsalya and Research Institute in Haridwar. The petitioner contends that the inaction of the Central and state governments in curbing sale of synthetic and adulterated milk is a violation of the fundamental right of life guaranteed under the Constitution. Synthetic and adulterated milk and milk products are prepared using urea, detergent, refined oil, caustic soda and white paint which are harmful to human life.

The bench also noted that Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Odisha have made the sale of adulterated milk, contaminated with synthetic material, an offence.

The petition was filed after a national survey conducted by the Food Safety and Standards of Authority of India showed that 68.4 per cent of the milk samples in the country did not conform to Food Safety and Standards Regulations. The survey was released in January 2012. The petition demands criminal action against anyone involved in the production of synthetic milk

Milk samples are not checked routinely in the country. Random samples are drawn by state food safety officers and sent to the designated food testing laboratories for analysis. There is an outlay of Rs 1,500 crore in the 12th Five Year Plan to strengthen the food regulatory system at the state level, Union minister of health revealed in an answer in Parliament in August 2013 (see table).

State-wise details of non-conforming milk samples
(as percentage of total samples collected in states/UTs)

State(s)

% of non-conforming samples

Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Daman and Diu, Jharkhand, Orissa, West Bengal and  Mizoram

100%

Manipur and Meghalaya

96%

Tripura

92%

Gujarat and Sikkim

89%

Uttrakhand and Uttar Pradesh

88%

Nagaland

86%

Jammu & Kashmir

83%

Punjab

81%

Rajasthan

76%

Delhi Haryana

70%

Arunachal Pradesh

68%

Maharashtra

65%

Himachal Pradesh

59%

Dadra and Nagar Haveli

58%

Assam

55%

Chandigarh and Madhya Pradesh

48%

Kerala

28%

Karnataka

22%

Tamil Nadu

12%

Andhra Pradesh

6.7%

Goa and Puducherry

Nil

 

Reply to Rajya Sabha question answered on 27.08.2013
http://164.100.47.5/qsearch/QResult.aspx

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