THE STATE government on Wednesday decided to launch a crackdown against milk adulteration, which will now attract strict punishment. The dairy and food and drugs administration departments will jointly carry out this drive.
Minister of Dairy Development Sunil Kedar said, “Milk adulteration is a serious issue; it is hazardous to health. The dairy and food and drugs departments are launching a massive campaign. During the sample test, if the milk does not conform to standard guidelines, blue dye will be added to it as a punishment.”
The strict action comes in the wake of growing unrest among dairy farmers across the state. They are upset over declining prices of milk, which have gone down from Rs 27 per litre to Rs 15 per litre. As a result, farmers have sought for government intervention and financial assistance.
Surplus milk due to a lockdown imposed due to Covid-19 coupled with surplus stock of skimmed milk powder have been attributed to the price drop. At present, there are 60,000 metric tonnes of skimmed milk powder stock.
At a meeting held at Mantralay on Wednesday, Kedar said, “I will lead the drive against milk adulteration. I will personally visit milk centres. Dairy and food and drugs departments will deploy officials across districts. The help of police will be important.”
The drive is also part of an exercise to address problems of dairy farmers. Milk adulteration has an adverse impact on the dairy economy. By creating artificial stock to increase milk, operators force farmers to settle on lower prices. Milk distributors or agents, after procuring milk from individual farmers, manipulate the quality by adding water to increase the quantity.
Farmers have repeatedly pointed towards large-scale adulteration. Apart from mixing water more than prescribed norms, chemicals are also used to increase the quantity. This creates surplus milk. Adulteration is also adopted to earn profit. Despite being a criminal offence leading to punishment as stringent as imprisonment and penalty, the government has been unable to crack down on culprits.
According to Kedar, “Vigilance squads have been told to put (indigo) blue dye in the milk found to be substandard.”
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