Milk supplied by milkmen in Chandigarh is unsafe. Urea, nitrate from pond water, and bacterial growth were found in most of the 50 samples taken from milkmen in a pilot study on milk adulteration in the city, conducted by researchers from PGI last year.
Packet milk, on the other hand, was found free from such impurities and adulterants.
The faculty from the Department of Experimental Medicine and Biotechnology conducted the study and excerpts have been published in the PGI’s annual report for 2012-13, which has come out recently.
A total of 75 milk samples were taken. Of these, 50 samples were taken from milkmen and 25 were packeted milk.
The samples were tested for formalin, urea, starch, detergents, hydrogen peroxide, dextrose, cellulose, ammonium sulphate, boric acid, skim milk power, pond water (nitrate), and micro organisms.
Of the samples taken from milkmen, 32 samples tested positive for urea, 45 samples had presence of nitrate and 25 samples had bacterial growth that was confirmed to be E.Coli. Other tested contaminants were not noticed.
The study said, “In the tested packet milk, samples of any of the contaminants were not detected. It also appeared to be sterile as far as the microbiological results were observed.”
Urea in milk is added to increase the fat falsely. It can damage intestines and also impact the digestive system. E Coli can cause bloody diarrhoea, severe anaemia, kidney failure or urinary tract infections.
“The aim of the project was to perform a sample survey of milk adulteration in the city available for human consumption. During the examination, we found that the results of the examination of packeted milk were quite different from the one collected from the milkman,” said Dr D Banerjee, Assistant Professor at the Department of Experimental Medicine and Biotechnology.
He added, “It was just a pilot study, with a limited number of samples. There is a need to conduct a lager research on milk adulteration.”
Dr Banerjee said that there were adulterants like melamine for testing which no methods were available. In November 2008, as many as 3,00,000 people were reportedly affected in China by melamine contamination of milk products and baby food, many of them had their kidneys damaged.
He said that there was not a single private lab in Chandigarh to test food adulteration.