Milk throughout India often is contaminated, adulterated

Daylife/AP Photo used by permission
Yoga guru Baba Ramdev performs purification ritual pouring milk into the River Ganges

More than two-thirds of Indian milk is adulterated with items ranging from salt to detergent and may be unsafe to drink, a government watchdog says. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India conducted a survey in 33 states and found that 68.4% of 1,791 milk samples was contaminated. Among the substances found in milk were milk powder, fat, glucose and water.

In urban India, nearly 70% of samples were found to be contaminated, compared with 31% of samples in rural areas.

The survey said that only two states – Goa and Pondicherry – sold unadulterated milk, while all 250 samples from four eastern states were found to be contaminated with detergent.

Centre for Science and Environment spokesman Chandra Bhushan told the BBC that the survey was important because it was the first time that such findings had been released by a government agency rather than by non-governmental organisations. “It means the government has been accepting that we have been drinking adulterated milk,” he said…

He demanded that the government should conduct similar surveys on other edible goods.

I many ways – as I would expect – India’s problems with health and safety, purity and quality, parallel China. Moving incredibly large populations through development stages that took decades and centuries in the West in the 50 or 60 years since liberation from colonial status takes something more than an Upton Sinclair moment.

Developing a nationwide network of civil servants, educated, competent, dedicated and in possession of all the political and legal tools to enforce standards ain’t ever going to be a simple task. To accomplish this in a global context varying only in degree of hostility and limited cooperation doesn’t help.

Though one might suggest a bit more dedication to that task really won’t hamper production of educated money-makers from the universities and colleges.

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