What is Adulteration in Milk and Ways to Detect It
Milk is an essential part of an Indian household. People of every age group include milk or milk products in their daily diet. Children drink milk-based health drinks, while most adults are dependent on tea or coffee. Plus, people consume milk products such as dahi, chaas, paneer, etc,. as a part of their meal. Therefore, it becomes crucial that every person gets quality milk.
Milk Adulteration in India has become quite common. The 'National Milk Safety and Quality Survey 2018' results announced on October 18 showed that 12 out of 6,432 samples of milk were found unsafe for human consumption due to adulteration.
What Is Milk Adulteration?
The process of intentionally degrading milk quality either by adding some inferior substances or by removing some valuable ingredient is known as milk adulteration. It is done to increase the quantity of milk and make a profit illegally.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is the authorised government body that checks food and safety regulations in India. Adulterated milk is dangerous as it may be toxic and lack nutrients essential for growth and development.
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.
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.
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.