Today, I feel every item that we consume must be put to test, especially milk where the adulteration is pretty high wherein to increase the quantity, the vendors add, apart from water, substances like urea, detergents, shampoo, caustic soda, oil etc. Thus, 70 to 80 per cent of the milk in our country is adulterated which is used by all of us knowing that what we are consuming is a poisonous cocktail. As it is an essential food item, we do not bother to check quite often where we are heading up to and use them liberally out of compulsion.
We have been hearing for quite some time that the government is developing some sort of a portable test kit which can scan and detect the amount of adulteration and the contents thereof. Addressing the problem of adulteration of this essential food item will require changes in the regulatory and legal framework and the manner in which the food safety administration discharges its duties. Food must be inspected to ensure it does not contain any objectionable material, such as the stem left on the leaf of a plant or mold on a piece of fruit.
The adulteration can happen in two stages i.e. contamination arising from poor hygiene, handling and packaging. It must be made mandatory across the supply chain i.e. from beginning to end – rather say from primary collection point to the processing and packaging plant. No producer should be allowed to sell without a test. Maybe, each unit should be required by law to submit its daily test reports/results, and these should be publicly available. This will make it possible to identify the source of adulteration. It can also be made a cognizable offence and must attract stiff penalties.
The only way to tackle adulteration of essential food items like milk is to increase the cost of violation. Failure to do so will mean continuing to expose the millions of Indians, children in particular, to a public health time bomb.
During Festival time people will be using more fruits to appease God and by consuming such artificially ripened fruits people suffer from various diseases and harm the health directly. It is time to take care of your health by not buying such artificially ripened fruits from the market. It is time curb adulteration in the open market and the health inspectors should have a close watch curbing such activities in the near future.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)