Agri Business

FSSAI Milk Survey: 7 per cent milk samples found unfit for consumption

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on October 18, 2019 Published on October 18, 2019

The problem of Aflatoxin M1 was found to be more dominant in processed liquid milk that is sold by organised players compared to raw milk which is sold by the unorganised sector.   -  istock.com/66North

Aflatoxin-M1 in processed milk samples sold by organised sector a key concern, says CEO

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has said that about 7 per cent of the samples tested under the National Milk Safety and Quality Survey 2018 were found to have safety issues largely due to presence of contaminants such as Aflatoxin-M1, pesticides and antibiotics. 

It added that nearly 93 per cent of the milk samples tested were found to be safe for consumption.

This is the first-of-its kind comprehensive survey FSSAI has conducted through a third-party agency. The survey was conducted from May 2018 to October 2018 covering all states and UTs.  The regulator believes that the outcome of the survey will help dispel misinformation and myths regarding safety of liquid milk in the country.

Read also: Simple test to detect adulteration in milk devised

Survey findings

Out of the total 6,432 samples of liquid milk which were tested, 456 samples (7.1 per cent) were found to be unsafe due to contaminants such as Aflatoxin-M1, antibiotics or pesticides. Of these 456 samples, only 12 samples were found have been “deliberately adulterated” through use of adulterants such as urea, hydrogen peroxide, detergent or urea.

Presenting the findings of the National Milk Survey, Pawan Agarwal, CEO, FSSAI stated that the issue of contamination is bigger than issues of adulteration in milk. He added the presence of Aflatoxin-M1 (contaminant) in samples of processed milk sold by organised player is a serious concern.

“Aflatoxin-M1 is a contaminant that comes in the milk through poor storage practices of animal feed and fodder. This is the first time we have done testing for Aflatoxin M1. Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Kerala were the top three states with highest levels of Aflatoxin M1 resides. Presence of of Aflatoxin M1 in processed milk sold by organised players is a key concern,” he added.

“This is a wake up call for the organised dairy players. To address these issues, we are instituting a scheme for testing and sampling for organised dairy players. It will be implemented from January 1, 2020,” Agarwal said.

The scheme stipulates sampling points during various stages of milk processing, test methods and frequency of sampling. Organised players, which include dairy co-operatives and private players, will need to have a well-equipped in house lab for testing and also will need to keep records of all tests conducted.

Meanwhile, nearly 41 per cent of the samples tested were found to be non-compliant with FSSAI’s quality standards and issues such as lesser amount of fat or low SNF (solids not fat) among others.

Agarwal said that these samples though fall short of quality parameters are safe for consumption. “While non-compliance of quality standards in raw milk sold by unorganised sector could be due to dilution with water. But non-compliance on account of fat and SNF in standardised or processed milk sold by organised players was surprising,” he added.

FSSAI will be using the survey findings to identify regions in various states where liquid milk quality and safety issues are more prevalent and requires stepping-up in surveillance and enforcement efforts.It has also communicated to state governments for the same.

Festival season Surveillance

After liquid milk, the regulator has next set its sights on assessing quality and safety of milk products such as ghee, khoya and paneer. Agarwal said keeping in mind the festival season, FSSAI has begun an elaborate surveillance exercise at 44 locations in the National Capital Territory of Delhi to collect and test samples of such milk products till the first week of November.

“We believe this will help us understand the safety and quality issues prevalent in milk products such as ghee, khoya and paneer,” Agarwal added.

Published on October 18, 2019
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