What is Adulteration in Milk and Ways to Detect It

What Is Milk Adulteration?

What Are Different Types of Milk Adulteration, and How to Detect Them?


Some of the most common adulterants in milk include water, starch urea, and detergent.

Here is a table showing the dangerous effects of different adulterants and ways to detect them.


Harmful Effects

Ways to Detect


Water reduces the nutritional value of this food. Moreover, if water is contaminated, it may lead to harmful diseases like cholera, typhoid, meningitis, polio, hepatitis A, etc. Contaminated water may also contain pesticides and heavy metals, which are detrimental to the human body.

Put a drop of milk on a surface that is polished and slanting. If it flows slowly and leaves a trail as it flows, the milk is pure. On the other hand, contaminated milk flows immediately without leaving any mark on the surface.


A high amount of starch causes diarrhoea due to the adverse effects of undigested starch in the colon. Also, the accumulation of starch may prove fatal for diabetic patients.

Add a drop of tincture iodine or iodine solution. If blue colour forms, it means the milk is adulterated.


Presence of urea in milk causes vomiting, nausea and gastritis. In addition, when urea is used for milk adulteration, it can harm the kidney, heart and liver.

Pour one teaspoon-full milk into a test tube and add half a teaspoon of soybean powder to it. Mix the contents properly. Then, dip a red litmus paper in it post 5 minutes. If the colour of litmus paper changes to blue from red after half a minute, it indicates that urea is present.


To check if the milk is laced with detergent, take some milk in a bottle and add water measuring an equal amount. Shake it well. If there is a formation of lather, it confirms that detergent is present.

Detergents contain dioxane, sodium lauryl sulphate and phosphates that are harmful to human health. Moreover, dioxane causes cancer. Phosphates cause nausea and skin irritations.

Synthetic milk

If you get a soapy feeling on rubbing the milk between your fingers and it becomes yellowish on heating, it confirms the presence of synthetic substances in milk. Synthetic milk has a bitter taste..

Synthetic milk causes swelling in the eye and complications in the liver and kidney. Moreover, synthetic milk is fatal for pregnant women.


The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that if milk adulteration in India is not stopped, a significant portion of the population might face life-threatening diseases by the year 2025.  Therefore, awareness about the quality of milk is necessary before consuming it.

Frequently Asked Questions