What is Milk Adulteration, its Types & How to Detect?

What is Milk Adulteration?

Types of Common Adulteration of Milk

There are three things often found in milk as adulterants: detergent, starch and urea. Several adulterants that are harmful and ways to identify them are indicated in the table below:


Harmful Effects
Water Water can also lower food's nutritional value. This includes life-threatening conditions such as cholera, typhoid fever, meningitis, and polio. This can be caused by exposure to bacteria in water-containing agents such as dioxins, lead salts, or cyanides. 
Starch Diarrhoea happens because of undigested starch within the colon when one consumes too much starchy food in their diet. Hence, people suffering from diarrhoea can die from starch overdoses due to diabetes. 
Urea Milk’s urea content triggers ulcers, queasiness, and regurgitation. Furthermore, milk adulteration with urea can cause damage to the kidney, heart, and liver. 
Detergent Dioxane, sodium lauryl sulphate, and phosphates have been known to represent health hazards in detergents. Dioxane is among the carcinogens, while phosphates cause skin irritation and can be nauseating when ingested.
Synthetic Milk Kidneys are affected by taking synthetic milk as it causes liver damage. Moreover, the life of a pregnant woman is at risk from drinking artificial milk.

Why Milk is Adulterated?

Major Factors Behind Adulteration of Milk

How to Detect Adulteration in Milk?

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, through the FSSAI, has shortlisted tests to determine the quality and purity of milk containing domestic contaminants at home. By raising consumer knowledge, these quick tests, Detecting Adulterants with Rapid Testing (DART), help to reduce health hazards, food adulteration and consumer deception. 


Ways to Detect
Water Put a drop of milk on a smooth, slanted surface. The milk drops silently, meaning it is of pure quality. The contaminated milk, however, never stops and may not leave a single stain behind.
Starch Put a drop of iodine solution or tincture in it. If the milk turns blue, it means it has been adulterated.
Urea Take one teaspoon of milk and half a teaspoon of soybean powder in a test tube. Mix the ingredients thoroughly. After five minutes, dip a litmus paper in it. If the litmus paper turns blue instead of red after 30 seconds, urea is present.
Detergent Pour some milk into a bottle and then add water to that level to know whether the milk has been tainted with detergent. Shake it. The presence of detergent makes foam during the shaking process.
Synthetic Milk Milk contains artificial compounds if it feels soapy between your fingers and turns yellow when heated. The unpleasant flavour is an indication that this type of milk is artificial. 

What are the Risks of Consuming Adulterated Milk?

What are the Diseases Caused by Milk Adulteration?

Due to its high nutritional value, milk is frequently seen as a sign of purity and sustenance, and it is a staple item that many people enjoy. However, adulteration poses several health hazards and may contribute to the development of different illnesses and health issues in consumers.


Gastrointestinal illness Detergents in milk can cause food poisoning and other gastrointestinal complications.
Heart problems Synthetic components in milk can cause heart problems.
Cancer Synthetic components in milk can cause cancer.
Kidney problems Consuming adulterated milk can lead to kidney problems.
Eye irritation Consuming adulterated milk can cause eye irritation.
Hormone imbalance Consuming adulterated milk can cause hormone imbalances in males and females.
Early breast growth      Consuming adulterated milk can lead to early breast growth in young girls.
Eye loss Consuming adulterated milk can lead to eye loss.
Memory loss Consuming adulterated milk can lead to memory loss.
Irregular menstrual flow Consuming adulterated milk can lead to irregular menstrual flow.

Milk adulteration is a widespread problem that jeopardises the security and integrity of the milk supply chain and hurts public health. A common issue compromising the safety and integrity of the milk supply chain and the general public's health is milk adulteration. Drinking poisoned milk can have major health repercussions, including chronic illnesses, acute poisoning, gastrointestinal issues, and even death. 

To combat milk adulteration, legislators, regulatory bodies, industry participants, and consumers must collaborate to enforce quality control procedures, enhance detection methods, and increase public awareness of the dangers of contaminated milk.

FAQs about Milk Adulteration