The hazardous counterfeit milk industry in India

The following is an excerpt from an article on the grim scenario of Indian milk industry, published in the popular Malayalam newspaper Mathrubhumi in 2013. “This belief that we are the world’s number one milk producer is misplaced. We are the number one fake milk producer in the world. And the only way you can stop this and protect your children is by totally stopping the purchase of this dangerous product.”

Many of the harrowing facts discussed in the article about the growing fake milk industry in India are coming out be true. A few days back FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) revealed a shocking fact that 68.7 per cent of milk and milk products sold in the country are not as per the standards. This means that your milk has high chances of adulteration or the milk you are consuming every day might be fake.

The most common adulterants used to develop fake milk include detergent, caustic soda, glucose, white pain and refined oil. The Animal Welfare board has stated that the adulterants used in milk can be hazardous to health and may cause irreversible damage to organs. One of the biggest reasons cited for the growth of counterfeit milk industry is the ever-increasing demand for milk. According to some estimates, the demand for fluid milk is four times the production. To fulfil this gap milk suppliers and companies resort to adulteration.

According to a government data, “Demand for milk is increasing rapidly in the country. This is primarily due to increasing population and growing incomes accruing from the multitude of central schemes launched for livelihood and employment generation. If we go by the emerging trend, the demand for milk is likely to be about 155 million tonnes by the end of 12th Five-year Plan (2016-17) and in the range of 200-210 million tonnes in 2021-22. Annual average increase in the production of milk over the last 10 years has been around 3.5 million tonnes per annum whereas there is a need to reach an average of 6 million tonnes per year over the next 12 years to meet the ever-increasing demand.”

The mammoth demand for fluid milk will pose a challenge for the government and top milk suppliers, amidst this scenario there are high chances that you will be sold fake or highly adulterated milk, however, there are some tests which you can do at your home to determine the originality of fluid milk. Here are they:

Milk slip test: It’s quite an easy and quick way to assess a milk’s genuineness. Put a drop of milk on a polished surface. If the drop slowly leaves a trail behind then it is pure but if it flows immediately leaving no trace behind then it is impure.

Reduction test: Take some sample of the milk. Boil it on slow heat while stirring it with spoon for 2-3 hours. Once the milk becomes solid (khoya) with an oily appearance then the milk is pure otherwise its synthetic.

Starch test: In this test, you have to add iodine or iodine solution to the sample of the milk. The formation of blue colour will indicate the presence of starch and determine that the milk is not pure.