Telling Numbers: 93% milk samples found safe, 41% had quality issues

Overall, above 93% of the milk samples (5,976 of 6,432) were found safe for human consumption.

On Friday, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) released the National Milk Safety and Quality Survey 2018. It recorded data from 6,432 samples of milk, out of which 40.5% were processed samples and 59.5% were raw milk samples, taken from towns with populations of 50,000-plus. The samples were analysed for fat and SNF (solids not fat), 13 adulterants and three contaminants.

Overall, above 93% of the samples (5,976 of 6,432) were found safe for human consumption. However, about 41% of the samples, though safe, fell short of one quality parameter or another.

Among the samples found unsafe, 12 were adulterated (6 with hydrogen peroxide, 3 with detergents, 2 with urea, 1 with neutralisers). Nine of the samples were taken from Telangana, two from Madhya Pradesh and one from Kerala.

Percentages are based on the total 6,432 samples in the survey. The sum of individual failures will not add up to 456 because some samples failed on more than one parameter. (Source: National Milk Safety and Quality Survey 2018, FSSAI)

In 368 samples, the survey found residues of aflatoxin M1 (a type of mycotoxin that can cause disease and death) beyond permissible levels. This was the first time milk in India was tested for aflatoxin M1, which comes into contact with milk through feed and fodder, not regulated in the country at present. States with the highest levels of residues of this contaminant were Tamil Nadu (88 of 551 samples), followed by Delhi (38 of 262) and Kerala (37 of 187). Most of the residues were found in processed milk.

Out of 77 samples found to be non-compliant for antibiotics, most were taken from Madhya Pradesh (23), followed by Maharashtra (9) and Uttar Pradesh (8).