|Saturday, 16 April, 2016, 08 : 00 AM [IST]|
|Ashwani Maindola and Pushkar Oak|
|Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), the apex food regulator, is expected to come out with a set of standards for milk soon.
The move will be in line with global best practices and help in determining the benchmarks for adulteration and fat contents amongst others. FSSAI CEO Pawan Kumar Agarwal revealed this information while addressing FBOs (food business operators) recently at an event hosted by All India Food Processors’ Association (AIFPA) in New Delhi.
The current guidelines were set in 1954, and only milk from cow, sheep, buffalo and goat fell under their purview while milk from camel and yak along with flavoured and fortified milk remained out of the ambit of the standards.
“There is a need to revisit old standards as they were based on old assumptions for fat and SNF (solid-not-fat) content,” stated Agarwal, adding that FSSAI would come up with the standards soon.
According to experts, even adding water to milk is considered as adulteration which may not be harmful for health. Further the SNF content standards vary amongst states. Also, milk fortification has been on the agenda of FSSAI for some time but the same could not take off because there were no standards for the purpose.
Dr R S Khanna, chairman, Kwality Limited, stated, “As a socially responsible corporate touching the lives of millions, Kwality welcomes FSSAI’s move to come out with new safety standards for checking milk adulteration in India. India is the world’s largest producer as well as consumer of milk and domestic demand for dairy products has been increasing consistently over the years. Milk is also the primary source of nutrition for millions in India and hence quality of milk has to be the primary concern.”
He added, “The milk industry has evolved a lot since 1954 when the existing milk safety guidelines were formed. Over the years, there have been changes in the quality of fodder and water used by cattle for consumption. Similarly, milk from camel and yak as well as flavoured and fortified milk has, so far, remained outside the ambit of safety regulations. It is imperative that milk safety regulations are in sync with the changing socio-economic dynamics of the country and benchmarks are designed to capture changes in technology and other safety parameters. It is also necessary to have uniformity in safety standards across states and it is heartening to see that FSSAI has addressed all these concerns.”
Further, with regard to fat content, there were certain demands from FBOs using camel milk. While FSSAI emphasises on 3 per cent milk fat in camel milk and 6.5 per cent solid-not-fat as standard, FBOs have been seeking reduction of mandatory fat content requirement to 2.5 per cent, according to Valamjibhai Humbal, chairman, Sarhad Dairy, Gujarat.
Humbal pointed out, “Here in the western regions of Kutch and Rajasthan, we have a huge population which depends on camel as a source of milk. In these terrains, camel can sustain well than cattle.”