New Delhi: An
overwhelming quantity of milk being supplied in the market, both
in pouches and in open cans in retail, does not conform to the
quality standards under the Food Safety and Standards Act, the
central government's food regulatory authority has told the
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), in an
affidavit filed last week, told the apex court of the 1,791
samples it collected from both urban and rural areas in states
across the country, as many as 1,226 samples or 68.4 percent were
found to be non-conforming to its standards.
In an alarming admission, the affidavit also said: "The study also
indicated traces of detergent in some cases."
"Milk with detergent is unsafe for consumption," the FSSAI said.
Counsel Anurag Tomar, who appeared for the Swami Achyutanand Tirth
who had filed the public interest litigation, said that though the
FSSAI says that some samples had traces of detergent, a survey
report said that in 103 samples, the presence of detergent was as
high as 8.4 percent.
The FSSAI acknowledged that water was the most common adulterant.
"Addition of water not only reduces the nutritional value of the
milk but if contaminated water is used, it may also pose health
risk to the consumers," the authority told the court.
The sample report said that in cases where powered milk was being
used for reconstituting the milk, the same was not being
The samples collected by the Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and
the Guwahati regional offices of the FSSAI, were tested at five
government laboratories across the country.
The affidavit, filed by FSSAI's assistant director Kamal Kumar,
said that only 31.5 percent (565) samples collected from across
the country in 2011 conformed with the statutory standards set
under the 2006 act.
Compared to urban areas, the quality of milk available in rural
areas was much better as the incidence of non-conforming samples
collected in rural areas was 31 percent, or 381 of the samples. Of
these 381 non-conforming samples, 16.7 percent or 64 were those
sold in packaged form and 83.2 percent or 317 samples were those
sold in retail.
In urban areas, 33.3 pecent of non-conforming samples were in
packed form and the rest were through cans.
The worst scenario was in Uttar Pradesh where 88 percent of the
samples collected were non-conforming.
"The deviation observed may be due to addition of water to milk,"
the affidavit said, adding that none of the samples failed due to
neutralisers and acidity percentage.
Swami Achyutanand Tirth, who filed the PIL, is the head of
Haridwar-based Bhuma Niketan Ashram in Uttarakhand. He contended
that "apathy and inaction" of the government and the state
governments in taking "effective and necessary" measures in
curbing the sale of synthetic (chemically prepared) and
adulterated milk was violative of fundamental right to life
guaranteed under Article 21 of the constitution.
The apex court May 9, 2012, issued notice to the central and
Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana and Rajasthan
governments on the PIL.