NHRC closes the can on milk adulteration
By Express News Service - NEW DELHI
Published: 22nd Jul 2012 11:22:33 AM
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has closed the case of milk adulteration across the country after receiving reports from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India and the Department of Prevention of Food Adulteration, Government of Delhi, stating that appropriate steps have already been taken by both the departments to curb the rampant milk adulteration.
Earlier, the NHRC asked for an action taken report (ATR) from the Chairman, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India over the issue on a petition filed by Supreme Court advocate and human rights activist Radhakanta Tripathy as to what sort of action has the authority taken to ensure the quality of milk across the country.
The NHRC has also issued notice to the Chief Secretary, Delhi government over another petition filed by R H Bansal with regard to the quality of milk sold in Delhi.
The petitioners urged the NHRC to urgently intervene in this matter as the country’s food safety regulator found most samples collected either diluted or adulterated with products including fertiliser, bleach and detergent. The study, conducted by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, found the milk adulterated with skimmed milk powder and glucose or more shockingly with hydrogen peroxide, urea and detergent.
Hydrogen peroxide is used in bleach, while urea is commonly used in fertiliser. Consumption of milk with detergent may cause health hazards and indicates lack of hygiene and sanitation in the milk handling, Tripathy pointed out. In its report dated February 27, 2012 the Prevention of Food Adulteration Department, Government of Delhi, informed the NHRC that it had collected 446 samples of milk between 2009-2011.
And, of the 446 samples, 379 samples were found fit for human consumption and 67 samples below the quality for consumption. However, no urea or detergent was found in the samples. It had also informed the NHRC that a strict vigil has been kept over the issue.
On the other hand, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India informed the NHRC that it had made an exercise in 2010-11 and taken 1,791 samples of milk across the country and found the objectionable materials as mentioned in the samples. The main aim is to make the consumer aware about milk consumption across the country, it stated.
Subsequent to the findings of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, directives have been issued to the Commissioner of Prevention of Food Adulteration of all the states to be alert over the issue. While this is the case with the NHRC, the Supreme Court had issued notices in the month of May this year on identical petition filed over the same issue and the case is pending.