According to an official from India’s top food regulatory body, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has initiated a comprehensive nationwide monitoring program for milk and milk products this month. This effort aims to combat the adulteration of these products. The surveillance initiative will remain in effect until October, with the FSSAI planning to present its findings to the health ministry by December, as stated by FSSAI Advisor (Quality Assurance) Satyen K Panda.
“The surveillance survey will cover 766 districts across the country and over 10,000 samples will be collected during the exercise. Two agencies have been engaged for the purpose,” he told PTI.
Panda stated that the survey for FSSAI will be carried out by the Quality Council of India, which operates independently under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, in collaboration with the National Dairy Development Board.
“The scope for the survey includes milk, khoa, chenna, paneer, ghee, butter, curd, and ice cream. The test parameters are adulterants, normal quality and compositional parameters, contaminants, antibiotic residues and microbiological indicators,” he said.
The study was instigated to evaluate the adherence of milk and milk products available in the country to Food Safety and Standards Regulations, while also pinpointing areas with a heightened risk of adulteration.
Panda mentioned that one of the aims of the survey is to formulate strategies for corrective actions.
He explained that the reason for selecting milk is its essential role in the country’s food culture, whether consumed as a fresh liquid or utilized as a processed dairy product.
“We are hopeful of submitting a report on the findings of the survey to the health ministry by December,” Panda said.
Since 2011, the regulatory authority has carried out a total of five surveys focusing on milk and dairy products.
In 2022, the FSSAI conducted a milk survey in 12 states, encompassing 10 regions where Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) was widespread.
Additionally, the FSSAI conducted the PAN India Milk Products Survey in 2020 with the objective of gaining a comprehensive understanding of the safety and quality of milk products available in the market during festive seasons.
For the 2020 study, a total of 2,801 milk product samples were gathered from both organized and unorganized sectors, spanning 542 districts across the nation.
These products underwent comprehensive testing for all quality and safety parameters, encompassing assessments for pesticide residues, heavy metals, crop contaminants, and melamine.