Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) released an alarming report on milk samples testing positive for cancer causing chemical. The report revealed presence of Aflatoxin M1 in milk, a toxin that causes liver cancer.
Of the 6,432 milk samples tested, 5.7% was tested positive for the presence of the toxin. Thereby, forcing FSSAI to induce feed regulatory measures under its wing. Thus, a proposal is under consideration to get livestock farming regulation confined to FSSAI.
Aflatoxin: A Carcinogenic in milk
Certain fungi in crops like maize, peanuts, cottonseed and other crops may lead to production of Aflatoxin. Consumption of feed of these crops by cattle leads to the occurrence of this carcinogen in the milk. Considering their oncogenic capabilities, the limit set by FSSAI is at 0.5 parts per billion of toxins in milk. However, Aflatoxin cannot be easily omitted from our food chain as they are naturally occurring. Thus, the food supervisory commission of India is exploring possibilities to control the feed and fodder industry.
Milk Purity in India
A member of the Animal Welfare Board highlighted that over 68% of India’s milk and milk products are way below the standards set by FSSAI. Also, he specified some of the common adulteries used include detergents, white paint, refined oil and soda.
The recent National Milk Safety and Quality Survey in India revealed the presence of a liver contaminant. Thus, exposing citizens to danger in the 1,103 cities that were tested. Following the test, the three states that contained Aflatoxin beyond the permissible limit included Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Kerala. Besides that, Kerala’s raw Milk sample contained pesticide residues.
Contamination in Milk
Experts cite that the lack of hygiene and sanitation during milk processing is a major reason for contamination. Additionally, it is suggested that adulteration is deliberately undertaken to increase the thickness and life span. In a similar case, officials of three factories in Madhya Pradesh were arrested for the production of poisonous synthetic milk. This lethal milk contained white paint, shampoo, detergent and in some cases urea with just 30% of milk.
As a result of adulteration, all human organs will be subjected to damage. WHO report estimated that over 87% of Indian citizens would suffer from life-threatening diseases such as cancer by 2026. Total number of new cancer cases in India estimated at 0.934 million by 2026.
Addressing the scenario, it is necessary to bring about safe and clean processing of milk. Moreover, monitoring animal feed must be given equal attention. FSSAI initiating regulatory actions in the monitoring and production sector might be the right step towards restoration.