India

Quarter of all milk adulterated, minister promises more effective laws

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

A milk market following a police raid. The courts have secured 122 convictions for milk adulteration this year
A milk market following a police raid. The courts have secured 122 convictions for milk adulteration this year

Related tags: Food safety

More than a quarter of all samples of milk taken across India are adulterated, the country’s health minister has revealed.

In a written to the Rajya Sabha (India’s upper house), JP Nadda said that 998 samples out of 3,814 in 2014 were contaminated. The figures were sourced from information provided by states and union territories, he added.

The offending samples had been found to break India’s food safety and standards regulations mainly due to the addition of water, milk fat, solid not fat, etc.

Over the last year, 432 prosecutions have been launched for milk adulteration, resulting in some 122 convictions.

Task force formed

The news follows a pledge by Nadda yesterday to make the current safety laws more stringent. with the establishment of a task force to recommend changes to the food safety act.

"We propose to comprehensively review the Food Safety and Standards Act, Rules and Regulations to address the concerns of courts in matters relating to food adulteration and the numerous representation received from food business operators​,” said Nadda.

It is also proposed to revisit the punishment stipulated for milk adulteration and make it more stringent​.”

The task force, which was formed earlier this week, Nadda said, will give its report in 45 days.

‘Crime against humanity’

He added that the poor implementation of the existing food safety Act had become a serious issue, while also blaming contaminated food for India’s rise in non-communicable diseases.

In total, more than 13,500 out of 72,200 food samples analysed over the last year in India were adulterated, leading to 10,325 court cases. 

The minister had been replying to a question by Satyapal Singh, who called India’s adulteration issues a "crime against humanity​."

Related topics: Policy, Food safety, Dairy, South Asia

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