Supreme Court notice to food authority on checking supply of adulterated milk

Wednesday 09 May 2012

Petition  seeks comprehensive policy on production, supply and sale of healthy, hygienic and natural milk

The Supreme Court on May 9 sought a response from the apex food body, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), and the states regarding milk adulteration and production of synthetic milk. The three-judge bench sought their response on the public interest petition filed by Swami Achyutanand Tirth on behalf of the Swami Bhumanand Dharmarth Chikitsalya &ÔÇ¿Research Institute in Haridwar.

The petition is a follow-up of the milk adulteration study  released by FSSAI in January this year.  During the survey, FSSAI found nearly 70 per cent of the milk samples adulterated; the samples did not conform to the Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006.
Five states were found to be completely negligent—100 per cent of their samples did not conform to the milk standards set by the FSSAI; nearly 14 per cent of the samples were found to have detergent in them. Detergent was found in samples collected from Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal and Odisha. Seventy per cent of the milk samples collected from the national capital also failed the FSSAI test.

Most of the samples that did not comply with standards (46 per cent) belonged to the category of low Solid Not Fat (SNF) and this was due to dilution of the milk with water. The other parameter for milk was the presence of skimmed milk powder, which was present in nearly 548 samples, out of which 477 samples contained glucose. A total of 1,791 samples were tested.

The bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia issued notices to the Centre and the state governments of Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Delhi. The petition also sought framing of a comprehensive policy on production, supply and sale of healthy, hygienic and natural milk.

The petitioner has pointed out that synthetic and adulterated milk and milk products are prepared using urea, detergent, refined oil, caustic soda and white paint, which, according to studies, are "very hazardous" to human life and can cause serious diseases like cancer. The petition demands criminal action against anyone involved in the production of synthetic milk.

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