INDIA – Tests conducted by the Indian authorities have found that 35% of the milk samples tested are non-compliant with the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India’s (FSSAI’s) requirements.

According to data provided by the Union Ministry of Food Processing Industry, 3,399 milk samples out of a total of 9,717 that were examined by the relevant authorities in 2020–21 were found to be non–conforming.

Authorities have collected Rs 6,62,12,595 (U.S$801,680) in penalties after 524 instances were found guilty.

Similarly to this, 4,779 out of a total of 12,538 samples examined in 2019–20 were determined to be compliant. In 688 cases, penalties totaling Rs 9,05,85,125 (U.S$1,096,774) were collected after conviction.

According to the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006 (FSS Act 2006), the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) was created with the responsibility of establishing science-based standards for food products and enforcing laws governing their production, storage, distribution, sale, and import to guarantee the availability of wholesome, safe food for human consumption.

As per the FSSAI, sub-regulation 2.1.2 of the Food Safety and Standards (Food Product Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011, specifies the standards for milk.

In order to check for contaminated food, FSSAI frequently conducts surveillance drives at the state/UT level and at the national level of Food Business Operators (FBOs), including those involved in the sale and production of milk and milk products.

According to the provisions of the FSS Act, 2006, Rules and Regulations established thereunder, the reply said, criminal action has been commenced against the defaulting FBOs in the event that any substance is identified that renders milk unfit for consumption.

In 2018, the FSSAI found nearly 93% of milk samples tested under the National Milk Safety and Quality Survey safe for human consumption.

Despite being safe, 41% of the samples were non-compliant and failed to meet one or more quality criteria, and 7% of the samples exhibited safety issues because of contaminants such as aflatoxin-M1, antibiotics, and pesticides.

About 456 of the 6,432 milk samples that were analyzed were found to be deliberately unadulterated. Only 12 of the 456 samples had been purposefully tampered with using urea, hydrogen peroxide, or detergent.

The first comprehensive poll was carried out between May and October 2018 and included all 50 states and UTs.

Both organized (retailers and processors) and unorganized (regional dairy farms, milk vendors, and milk mandis) sectors were included.

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