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Q. Issues and impact of milk adulteration: Discuss the issues and impact due to adulteration of milk.
Nov 07, 2016 Related to : GS Paper-2

Ans :

Introduction-

In recent times we have witnessed increased cases of adulteration of milk. Sometimes ago even Supreme Court of India has expressed concern over alarming level of milk adulteration in the country, and the court directed the central government to consider to suitably amending the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 and the Indian Penal Code to incorporate penal provisions making adulteration of milk punishable with life imprisonment.

Issues of milk adulteration-

  • Cases of milk adulteration is rampant in the country and the situation was worst in Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, West Bengal, Mizoram, Jharkhand and Daman and Diu where adulteration in milk was found up to 100%.
  • A 2011 Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) study showed that 68% of fresh milk was adulterated as was 33% of packaged milk.

Impact of milk adulteration -

  • The adulteration of milk with synthetic detergents, water, chalk and baking soda among other things poses a serious health hazard especially to children.
  • The Indian Council of Medical Research has reported that milk adulterants have hazardous health effects. The detergent in milk can cause food poisoning and other gastrointestinal complications. 
  • Its high alkaline level can also damage body tissue and destroy proteins. Other synthetic components can cause impairments, heart problems, cancer or even death. 
  • While the immediate effect of drinking milk adulterated with urea, caustic soda and formalin is gastroenteritis, the long-term effects are far more serious.
  • The effects of adulteration not only threaten people’s health but the toxins enter the food chain and contaminate produce and groundwater for years on end. Certain adulterants stay on in the body long after the contaminated food has been consumed.

Suggestions-

  • To contain ill effects of adulteration, there is an urgent need to enhance the punishment for adulteration of milk. 
  • Many popular food brands have been found to contain hormones, metals and toxins during checks -- these substances seem to find their way back into food once the attention is off. Hence the proposed increase in punishment for milk adulteration will be extended to other food items. 

Conclusion-

The adulteration of milk with synthetic detergents, water, chalk and baking soda among other things poses a serious health hazard especially to children. Apex Courts recent observation in the interest of people’s health and well-being. It must now be ensured that the changes sought in the law are implemented stringently.


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