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Oh …. For A Glass Of Milk!

Oh …. For A Glass Of Milk!

At a time when we Goans are preoccupied with various clarifications on the interpretations of the Supreme Court order on closure of liquor outlets which fall within 500-metre distance of national and state highways, the news that local consumers of milk supplied by private dairies from Karnataka and Maharashtra need to remain alert comes with its own dose of apprehension.

More so when it was discovered that the heavily adulterated milk packaged under the banner of different brands was being supplied to innocent consumers for nearly ten years!

The busting of a major racket involved in the supply of spurious milk more than clarified that Goa was in the throes of a malaise worse than the easy availability of alcoholic drinks in the state.

In fact, with the lid blowing off similar rackets in Haryana and Rajasthan in 2009, and in Mumbai very recently, one would have thought the authorities would be more vigilant towards such ‘misadventures’ in other parts of the country endangering the populace.

Milk, as we know, is a liquid that mammals can create in mammary glands in order to feed their young ones until they are strong enough to digest other types of food. The beneficial health nutrients obtained from milk are essential for the human body and help prevent a number of chronic ailments. In fact milk continues to nourish us throughout our lives.

People around the world include it as a staple part of their diet. Many animals can provide us with this vital health substance, but cow’s milk is considered the best wholesome supplement for children as well as adults.

But with reports suggesting that over 68% milk in India is found adulterated, it is beginning to sound as if this reprehensible activity has been going on for donkey’s years and it is only the novelties brought to the trade that has distinguished it from the earlier times.

Adulteration in milk has been a cause of concern for both the government and the dairy industry. Is this however the level of seriousness to be expected?

Allow me to carry a synopsis of a newspaper report on how synthetic milk is produced.

“Any brand of refined vegetable oil whose Butyro Refractometer reading is less than 42 is taken in a wide mouthed container along with a suitable emulsifier and thoroughly mixed so that the entire content is made into a thick white paste.”

“After this is achieved, water is slowly added to the paste until the density of the liquid is similar to that of milk. Then it is added with Urea or sodium sulphate or glucose or maltose. At times any one of the commonly available fertilizers is added. These substances are usually dissolved in hot water and then added to the seemingly milk like solution.” (The Goan, February 23, 2017).

And lo the milk is ready for distribution!

The procedures that go into the making of the synthetic milk is meticulously followed that it would put the best of dairy experts to shame. Ensuring that the fat and solids not fat (SNF) percentage is similar to mixed milk for instance!

Most common adulterants found in milk are pond water, detergent, foreign fat, starch, caustic soda, salt, maltodextrin, sodium carbonate, formalin, ammonium sulphate  white paint and refined oil. With fertilizers too brought into the fray, no points for guessing how hazardous a sip of this amalgamated product is!

Reports of the illegal manufacture and supply of spurious milk using vegetable oil and chemicals are scary, to say the least. If the primary source of natural nutrition for us humans has to come from a deadly concoction of chemicals and fertilizers, we need not delve any further into the reasons for the ‘variety’ of ailments that afflict the modern society.

Millions pouring by way grants for research and development into possible cures and antidotes for the assortment of unexplained diseases thus becomes irrelevant considering that the avalanche of miseries piled on mankind is a ‘boon’ that only exemplifies the greed of a few unscrupulous who have no compunction over sacrificing human lives to satisfy their lust for money.

These racketeers for that matter have not spared any effort to contaminate anything that is marked for human consumption. Be it meat, vegetables, pulses, spices or grains; their nefarious activities have only added to the proliferation of unexplained diseases that have baffled the medical fraternity.

The adulteration detected in carbonated drinks and fast-food is already a matter of public debate which however refuses to move away from the realms of discussion to settle into any meaningful steps to contain the rampant problem associated with them.

Fruits and vegetables are highly nutritious and form a key food commodity in the human consumption. They are highly perishable due to their low shelf life. These food commodities are reputed to be contaminated with toxic and health hazardous chemicals.

Waxing and coating apples with edible coating in form of wax make them shiny during their long journey from the apple orchard to the supermarket shelves giving them  a semblance of freshness to allure the customers.

So also the artificial ripening of fruits and vegetables through injections of some undesirable chemicals! It is also amusing to note that a cocktail of chemicals gives some of the fruits and vegetables an abnormal growth. If the controversy regarding ‘Bt brinjal’ in India was to be as earnestly followed in the matter of ‘chemical infusion/coating’ of fruits and vegetables to benefit the traders, the story would have been something different.

Having said that, concerns about the air that we breathe appear to be keeping only the environmentalists busy, with an occasional whimper by some individuals indicating public indignation.

We are actively engaged in the study of other planets, but how safe is our own!

There is a need to appreciate the resources made naturally available to us. Pollution, contamination and adulteration are vile acts committed to pillage the bounty. Rather than sustaining us, we are in turn evolving means to decimate the future generation who will only be bland caricatures of an unhealthy visage.

We are plunging headlong towards doomsday when we would be altering life on own earth through some spurious means!

(Published on 06th March 2017, Volume XXIX, Issue 10)#