Indian food faces contamination problems, says survey

By Ankush Chibber

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Milk, Powdered milk

Indian food faces contamination problems, says survey
After the revelation that most of the milk sold in India is adulterated, there is a slight respite with a similar survey on food products, which found that a little more than 10% of such products were contaminated.

Under a survey done by the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), it was observed that around 13% of both packaged and loose food items sold across the country were contaminated.

The survey, which was conducted by field researchers from the FSSAI, saw more than 117,000 loose and packaged samples being collected and analysed at government laboratories over a year for possible contamination. The survey found that 14,000 samples or 12.65% were adulterated.

The FSSAI survey found that food adulteration rates were the highest in states like Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand, which had 40% and 34% of their samples contaminated respectively. Interestingly, the food adulteration rates in Delhi and Karnataka were lowest at 4% and 5% respectively.

The authority said in an accompanying note that though not alarming, food adulteration rates have shown a steady increase. The body cited that in 2008, only 7.8% of the 94,000 samples tested were contaminated. In 2009, there was an upward trend, where 11.1% of the 113,000 samples examined were adulterated and then in 2010, the rate shot up to 13%.

Milk contamination still ruling the airwaves in India but

This news of food items being contaminated however was overshadowed by more news about the milk contamination survey results that were reported about earlier this week by Food Navigator-Asia.

Now, the Delhi High took some notice of the survey, which found that around 70% of milk supplied in the country was adulterated and issued notices to the Centre and Delhi government and sought a reply on the matter by January 25.

Moreover, the Ministry of Health is also holding meetings this week with officials from the dairy co-operatives and private dairy players over this issue on a possible change of standards and processes to make dairy products safer and not face a China-like contamination scandal.

The National Survey on Milk Adulteration 2011 saw FSSAI researchers randomly select and analyse 1,791 samples from 33 states.

The survey revealed that deviation in samples was found highest for fat and SNF in 574 samples of the total non–conforming samples, with the authority stating that this was because of dilution of milk with water.

The second highest parameter of non-conformity was the skim milk powder, which was found in 548 samples, which includes presence of glucose in 477 samples.

“Glucose would have been added to milk probably to enhance SNF. The presence of Skim Milk Powder indicates the reconstitution of milk powder. Detergent was also found in 103 samples,”​ the survey said.

Related topics: Formulation, Food safety, South Asia

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