Contaminated milk: A dangerous threat to public health
While attending a function held at Krishibid Institute on February 3, Prime Minister spoke sternly against food adulteration, comparing the offence with corruption. She urged to stop this malpractice to protect people's lives. A study conducted by National Food Safety Laboratory of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has recently detected excessive levels of lead and pesticides in raw cow milk. Unprocessed cow milk is a healthy drink and is consumed in huge quantity across the country. Toxic elements in milk pose a serious threat to human health.
Scholars think that the source of heavy metal in milk is mainly due to polluted cattle feed, which is a mixture of various ingredients, manufactured to increase cattle's physical growth and milk. Researchers also traced the source of pesticides in milk: excessive use of pesticides in agricultural lands. According to the survey, 69 per cent of feed sample contain higher level of chromium. Moreover, the survey shows that 96 per cent raw milk and 66-80 per cent packed milk does not fulfill the standard safety criteria, set by the government.
Lack of systematic research in cattle feed producing industry and absence of awareness among farmers lead to this outcome: toxic milk.
The findings of the study are horrific since milk is a major source of nutrients, vitamins and minerals for people of all ages, especially children. Lead affects multiple body organs and is responsible for malfunctioning of organs. It damages brain cells and central nervous system. And in this way it affects children's brain development which causes children's Intelligence Quotient (IQ), behavioural changes, and reduces concentration capability. Regular consumption of contaminated milk with pesticide might cause pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, leukaemia, skin sensitisation and allergic reaction.
The current government has achieved notable success in the health sector but food borne diseases are still a major health concern. Intentional or unintentional intoxication of milk hints towards the perilous state of our milk industry. Since milk intoxication is not a direct form of food adulteration, so special measures needs to be adopted fast in order to deter chemical mixing in cattle feed.
Ensuring quality control of milk and dairy products on a regular basis can prevent potential food-borne diseases nationwide. Round the clock monitoring on cattle feed producing companies is a must. Introduction of healthy and safe manufacturing practices in cattle feed can prevent milk pollution.