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Milk adulteration and its harmful effects on human health

Milk is a white lacteal secretion produced by the mammary glands (milk-producing glands) of mammals. It is the primary source of nutrition for infant mammals before they are able to digest the other types of food.

Nutritional composition of milk varies according to the type of species from which milk is obtained. It contains sugar (lactose), fat (saturated and unsaturated), high-quality protein (whey and casein), water, hormones (more than 50) as well as rich amount of minerals (calcium and phosphorus) and vitamins (riboflavin and vitamin B12).

Dairy farming is said to be a complete setting or environment for reproduction,dependencyand protection of social values. Over 264 million dairy cows worldwide are producing nearly 600 million tons of milk annually. The average milk production is around 2,200 liters per cow, globally. India is the largest producer of milk followed by the United States of America, China, Pakistan,Brazil, Germany, Russia, France, New Zealand and Turkey.

Pakistan ranks fourth in the world with 42 million tons production of milk every year.Major milk producing animals are buffaloes that contribute about 73% to a total milk production followed by cows 24% and 4% by goats and sheep.

Pakistan produces surplus milk but considered as the least commercial enterprise due to lack of proper collection centers, transportation and distribution lines.

Millions of liters of milk wasted on daily basis because of the lack of processing facilities and value addition methods.

Government must be urged to take immediate measures for the betterment of dairy sector in Pakistan.
Unfortunately, milk is being very easy to adulterate and it is done throughout the world. Reasons behind this unethical action include; gap in supply and demand of milk, its perishable nature, low purchasing capability of customers and lack of proper detection methods.

These reasons paved the way for its adulteration, which could pose serious threat to the health of the consumers. This situation is going to be worse in underdeveloped countries especially Pakistan because of the lack of law enforcement and monitoring methods.

Few adulterants which are quite harmful and impart detrimental effects on the health of consumers include melamine, peroxides and detergents,starch, urea and carbonate and bicarbonate and many others. The harmful effects of these adulterants are given as under:

Table 1: Adulterants and their harmful health effects

Parameters or tests which are important to check the quality of milk are fat%, SNF% (Solid-Not-Fat), freezing point and protein%. Adulterants are added in milk to improve these parameters in an unethical and dishonest way, which is described in the following table.

Table 2: Impact of particular adulterant on quality parameters of milk

So the need of hour is to pay more attention towards the constant supply of fresh and pure milk to the consumers.

I am of the view that the newly formed government, which is quite focused on the point of eradicating malnutrition among the young children, will also take strict actions to overcome this crucial issue of adulteration in this great blessing of Mother Nature.


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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are solely of the author and do not represent ARY policies or opinion.