Food safety authorities in Fatehpur district have swung into action after carbonate compounds were found in milk samples reportedly meant for manufacturing Amul packaged milk at one of its village-level collection centres.
The use of any foreign agent in packaged milk is banned and, therefore, the authorities have picked up three more samples from Amul’s chilling and mixing plant in Fatehpur’s Malwan block and sent them for analysis to assess whether the “contamination” is widespread.
While no Amul official could be reached for comments in Fatehpur or any other part of the state, an office-bearer at its head office in Gujarat’s Anand said on the request of anonymity that it is the local member cooperative union which is entrusted with milk collection and Amul is not directly linked with it.
Meanwhile, the food safety officials said they had not pressed any charges yet. However, they added that the cooperative was not completely out of the purview of liability. They have also requested district authorities to launch penal action against the incharge of the village-level collection centre.
“This is only a preliminary result found at a localised level. If the samples collected from the mixing plant are also found to contain carbonate compounds, the matter would be serious and we will take action,” said Fatehpur District Food Safety Incharge, Rajesh Dwivedi.
Asked whether Amul could be held responsible for this “contamination”, Dwivedi said: “They have a system of checks at the collection level. So, they cannot be completely kept out of the purview of liability. But we need more results to press further.”
Officials said they collected random milk samples at the point of collection on January 10 at Shahjahanpur Majhilgaon in Fatehpur’s Bindki Tehsil and sent them to a Lucknow laboratory.
“The June 1 test reports showed the samples contained carbonate compounds. It could be sodium carbonate or sodium bi-carbonate. Usually, this compound is used to enhance the shelf life of the milk, by preventing it from turning sour for a longer period,” said Dwivedi.
Asked if the quantity of compound in the samples was beyond permissible limit, Dwivedi said: “That is beyond our purview. The rules are very clear in case of packaged milk. Since it is given to infants, nothing can be mixed in it, not even water.”