Friday, September 7, 2018

Who patronizes adulterated milk and milk product industry in India ?

Dear friends,

Finally after our repetitive requests and sharing of perils of milk and milk products adulteration in Indian markets, a sliver lining was observed in last fortnight. 

There were plenty of raids by the regulator in North India on milk chilling centers and product manufacturing units especially for ghee, panir and khoa. The media also woke up and got sensitized to issue of emerging markets of analogues. Interestingly farmers association and local cooperatives also join these raids and thus reinforces their commitment towards responsible dairying.

I was also  interviewed by media and the first question being asked by them was "what's the harm in eating analogue products ? My straight response to them was that, it was more like cheating innocent consumers who were not aware that the dairy product ,which they are buying is actually not made up of dairy ingredients or from milk. It may be considered under Food Fraud even, but in the absence of very clear definition of food fraud in Indian context , I was unable to assert it further. ( Read first article "Dairy industry rues rising adoption of milk substitutes).

On the other side such products are taking away the opportunity of selling milk by the farmers ,as huge quantities of spurious milk products are being made using non dairy ingredients.

In an inspiring  interview by Sh Pawan Agarwal, CEO FSSAI (which can be watched on  talked about integrating efforts of Fssai with ministry of agriculture and animal husbandry to produce safe milk at primary production level itself through sensitization.  This might sow the seeds of good farming practices at primary production levels . As industry we  also look forward for having some thing like farm safety supervisor on the lines of food safety supervisor to disseminate GAP at farmers levels in the country to make them aware of what should be done in order to grow safe food before actually it is processed at FBO level . It may begin with organic farming under Jaivik logo initiative . 

In another interview the regulator has mentioned about ongoing Milk quality Monitoring program under which real time sampling of milk in around 1100 cities in India would reveal the actual status of milk quality in the country by the end of this year including that of pesticide and insecticide traces.

I also request all responsible stakeholders of dairy industry to not to quote the misinterpreted version of milk adulteration survey 2011 in which media quoted that 68 % of milk in India is adulterated. Post that we have also conducted a milk adulteration survey 2016 -17 and now a similar study at a much larger foot print is going on. Such statement leads to a chaotic situation at global levels and it becomes very difficult for Indian dairy exporters to gain bargaining power while exporting their products in developed world. Unnecessarily they have to pass by much stringent market access as against other countries.

Now the question of the fortnight is that who patronizes this huge market of adulterated milk and milk products ? Is it being governed by some other industries ? Some could easily say that such products are manifestation of the relentless efforts of industries supplying those non dairy ingredients or chemicals . But still the question remains is  "who buys those ingredients and finally who become part of the revenue stream coming out of such spurious/analogue or adulterated milk and milk products "?

The answer is Dairy industry itself. 

If the same question is asked for some different industry then our answer is very simple e.g Who patronizes software piracy business ?.........the answer would be software industry.

So if we ask that who  patronizes adulterated milk and milk product market ?..........then why cant we use our common sense and acknowledge it to be dairy industry itself.

I am glad that last fortnight a large number of stakeholders from cooperative, multinational and private sectors have opened up and shared their concerns over adulterated ghee and analogue product market for paneer and khoa.

I leave the revered group to decide on how you could really make a difference in the lives of dairy farmers as well as safeguard the industry from the biggest Food fraud of the country in form of analogues in both organized and unorganized dairy sector.

One of the ways is simply sharing your concern with the regulator by simply dropping a mail to FSSAI with two requests for 

a. Defining analogues in the standards clearly and disallowing use of any dairy related terms in both product or brand categories and 

b. Requesting the regulator to issue a "Non dairy based product" logo for all those dairy_like products so that consumers could identify it at first glance itself.

Any other suggestion by the group is also welcome.

Happy e reading.

with best regards
Kuldeep Sharma
Chief Thinking Officer
Suruchi Consultants (ISO 9001:2008 Company)
C-49 Sector-65
Noida 201307

+91 9810315831
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