SC has ruled life imprisonment for milk adulteration but the Government is yet to give proper ways to find out adulterated milk for households
By Sayantan Ghosh
The kids did’t know they are drinking adulterated milk. India Today reports, 127 kids were hospitalized, Two kids and an Anganwadi worker had died, allegedly after they drank the adulterated milk in mid-day meal. The incident happened in a primary school in Mathura district on the first week of May, 2016. It is not a unique case of infection through adulterated milk. India has witnessed many incidents of such infections.
Times of India reported that, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has published a study on 2011 on milk adulteration in India. The study shows that more than 68% of the milk in India is adulterated.
Recently Supreme Court of India has given a verdict on a PIL filed by Swamy Achyutanad Tirth and others. The petition was for asking strict law against the sale of adulterated milk. SC bench of Chief Justice of India T S Thakur and Justice R Banumathi have given the verdict and favored life imprisonment for the offense of milk adulteration. Previously the IPC act has the provision of only six months imprisonment. The SC judgment has asked the Government to amend the Section 272. The said section deals with the crime of adulteration of food and drinks.
Advocate Anurag Tomar who fought the case for the petitioners claimed “ milk adulteration is a serious problem but the discussion is very less. We fought the case because the law is very week. The court has given the verdict to amend the law.” “ It is heinous crime. But for business, milk manufactures add substance like Urea, Formalin, detergent, water and many other substances with the milk” he added. Tomar also mentioned that “SC bench discussed the issue with experts for this case. The law definitely help to reduce the practice of adulteration.”
Milk is one the most consumed products in India. It has the reach in every section of Indian population. There is no proper directions to know whether the milk is adulterated or not. A Times of India report says “ the Government is working towards providing an accurate, portable test kit for the important staple.”
But, the senior scientist of FSSAI, Dr. Rajesh Kumar said “ I don’t know if the Government has made any test kit or not. But in my knowledge it is difficult to make any system like that as the demography of milk consumers is huge.”
The question arises that if people doesn’t get to know that the milk is adulterated or not then how will they file the complain against the manufacturer company. In the judgement SC has noted that the Central Government should be more conscious the issue and look after the licensing system of milk manufacturers and suppliers.
The Hindu reports that Harsh Gupta, the former managing director, Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF) said “ Milk adulteration is evolving and people are finding newer ways and chemicals to adulterate milk. Hydrogen peroxide is among the recent.” This statement clearly shows that with time the process of milk adulteration is also evolving. So in that note, it will be more important to find out the way how household can judge the adulteration.
Dr A K Chakravarty, the principal scientist of National Dairy Research Institute said “ there is scientific methods to find out if the milk is adulterated or not. But these methods are mostly lab based, so for normal household and in case of regular monitoring there is no simple method.”
Recently a student of IIT Madras Avisek Barla has made a device which can detect adulteration of milk and it is a very cost effective method. The New Indian Express reports that this method is very easy and it can be easily used in household. According to the report Avisek and his team are trying to launch this product by talking to various companies.
The judiciary has asked for a strict law and the researchers are trying to make machineries which will detect milk adulteration easily. We can hope these steps will save the country from witnessing deaths of more children as happened in the primary school of Mathura.