Milk is considered as the complete food and it is the prime nutrition for the babies. In these respect, the quality and the purity of the milk is of utmost importance.However the reality is far from it.
In most of the metro cities, milk adulteration is common hazard. (Isn’t this a sad situation? Such a great threat/risk for everyone’s health and we just accept it as a common knowledge.) But not everyone knows about the exact adulterant added for a specific quality, and the resultant effects of these on our bodies.
A while ago I came across some information regarding these adulterants — I feel an awareness and some knowledge about these could prove useful.
Adulteration is a process by which the quality of a substance is reduced. This action could be on purpose or a side effect due to a lack of knowledge or cleanliness.
Generally milk is adulterated on purpose to enhance the profits. So the most common adulterant added to the milk is water. But addition of water is very easy to detect. The changed taste, lack of cream or boiling of milk without overflowing — these things easily give away the adulteration of milk with water.
So, in order to avoid getting caught, the adulterer mixes certain substances in the watery milk to enhance it thickness, density, taste etc.
The common adulterants used for milk are :-
Detergent or soap powder is mixed to give frothiness and make the milk appear naturally frothy. (soap also helps in dissolving the fats in the added water.) Detergent causes complications of intestine and gastroenteritis.
Urea: This is added for increasing the while colour of the milk. this also increases the consistency of the milk. In the normal circumstances, when we eat protein containing meal, the protein is broken down in the liver and the unwanted or harmful by-product Urea is filtered by the kidneys and thrown out through the urine. This additional urea (present in the adulterated milk) increases the workload of the kidneys.
Hydrogen peroxide is added to retain the milk in un-spoilt condition for longer period. This harm the intestinal cells, causes inflammation of the intestines.
Starch is added to increase the thickness of the watery milk.The excess amount of starch in the diet can result in indigestion and diarrhoea.
Carbonates and bi-carbonates are added to avoid spoilage of milk. These can interfere with the working of growth and reproduction hormones.
Sugar and salt are added to give natural taste to the adulterated milk. These are harmful for the people with blood pressure and diabetes.
Generally the immediate effect of these adulterants would be gastroenteritis and other abdominal irregularities.However, the long term effects of these chemicals could be far more serious.
Even milk products are adulterated with various substances. Khoya is mixed with paper, refined oil and milk powder. Ghee and paneer may contain adulterants like coal tar and dyes. The sliver ‘vark’ used for decorating milk sweets is mostly replaced with a product containing aluminium. Blotting paper is added to give thickness to Rabadi.
So, it would help to be always alert and vigilant. Whenever in doubt, we can get a sample of the milk tested. Supreme Court has stated that adulteration should amount to life imprisonment.
Image Courtesy: dailymail.co.uk.