Tuesday January 25, 2022

Sale of adulterated milk goes on unchecked

January 12, 2017

Domestic, reputed brands also involved in dirty business;
detergent powder, urea, water, other chemicals mixed in milk

PESHAWAR: The consumers have been consuming milk adulterated with chemicals and contaminated water causing various diseases, particularly among children.

Around 80 percent of the milk was being brought from Punjab to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and distributed to dealers without any test for the quality.The milk was shifted in water tankers to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and was being distributed among hundreds of milk selling shops in Peshawar and elsewhere.

The administration did not bother to check the quality of the milk despite the fact that the Punjab government had confiscated hundreds of liters of adulterated milk and disposed it off.Some of the businessmen associated with the milk business in Charsadda and Mardan told this scribe that the milk brought from Punjab has affected their business. They said the milk being brought from Punjab was available at low price and the local milkmen preferred it to make high profit.

“We purchase 50 kilos of milk for Rs4,200 from the local milkmen while the price of the same amount of milk brought from Punjab is Rs2,600 only,” said a dealer.He said the milk purchased from dairy farms and local milkmen got spoiled after a few hours but the milk adulterated with chemicals can remain fresh for 48 hours.

Recently the Punjab Food Authority informed the Supreme Court of Pakistan in a case regarding the use of chemicals and water in milk that reputed milk selling companies and domestic dealers were involved in the selling of unhygienic milk. Its officials told the court that these companies and domestic dealers adulterated the milk with detergent powder, chemicals and water.

The Punjab Food Authority officials said the unhygienic milk was leading to some diseases including cancer and Hepatitis-C in humans. They said they had taken 52 samples of milk but only 27 samples were found fit for human consumption as the rest were contaminated. Ironically there isn’t a single laboratory in Pakistan that had the capability to gauge contamination of chemicals in milk and water.

Experts said the milk coming from Punjab is adulterated with urea and Pharmaline. Both chemicals can damage the liver and kidneys. The chemicals were used to preserve the milk for a long period of time and maintain its quality.

There were reports of sale of unhygienic milk on a huge scale in Peshawar but the administration was unmoved.The district administration collected 25 samples from various milk outlets in the city and 18 were found unhygienic. Subsequently, the district administration started preparations for action against the milkmen involved in sale of unhygienic milk.

Deputy Commissioner Shahid Mehmood said the administration was considering launching crackdown against the sale of adulterated milk in the provincial capital, fixing the price of milk and implementing the decision and selling milk in barrels used for chemical transportation to check the quality of the milk.

He assured that the sale of domestic and international brand packed milk adulterated with chemicals and water would be curbed.On the other hand, the newly established Milk Testing Laboratory at the Livestock Department in the province still hasn’t been made operational.

District Director Livestock Department Dr Masoom Shah said the District Council had announced Rs2.5 million as grant for the laboratory on November 30 last but the amount could not be released due to unknown reasons.