Commonly used adulterants in milk

Why are these used and how they affect us?

Formalin, Hydrogen Peroxide, Potassium Dichromate, Sodium Azide, Mercuric Chloride and Bronopal

Chemicals like these are used as preservatives in the milk. Formalin, for example is disinfectant and preservative used for preserving dead bodies and  biological  specimen.  The milk, which otherwise has a shelf life of only 48 hours at refrigerated  temperature of less than 4 degrees Celsius, can last upto days at normal  temperatures with the addition of these chemicals. These additives can extend the  milk’s shelf life without refrigeration, saving the supplier a neat packet by cutting  electricity costs and loss during temperature differences during transportation of raw milk.

How it affects you?

Formalin can cause more severe damage to the body like liver damage. The health impact of drinking milk adulterated with these chemicals is worse for children.

H3 Urea, Caustic Soda, Sodium Sulphate

These chemicals are commonly used to create synthetic milk. Since the production  of milk is dependent on the weather, to compensate for the additional requirement, synthetic milk is added to mixed milk to increase quantity. Say in summers, when the production of milk gets reduced and demand increases due to higher consumption of cold bevereges like lassi, Chaach, flavoured milk etc., demands are often met with adding this kind of milk.

This is how synthetic milk is made: Vegetable refined oil is taken in a wide mouthed container along with a suitable emulsifier and thoroughly mixed till it becomes a thick white paste. Water is slowly added to the paste until the density of the liquid is similar to that of milk. Then is added urea or sodium sulphate or glucose or maltose or sometimes any one of the commonly available fertilizers after dissolving in hot water. The refined oil in synthetic milk acts as a source of fat whereas the hot solution of any one of the substances above mentioned acts as a source of solids not fat (SNF). The ingredients that go in to the making of synthetic milk are calculated in such a way that the fat and SNF percentage is similar to mixed milk. Hence it easily passes the tests carried out at the village level dairy co-operative society (fat and lactometer reading etc.).

How does it affect you?

The detergent in milk can cause food poisoning and other gastrointestinal          complications. Its high alkaline level can also damage body tissue and destroy   proteins. Other synthetic components can cause impairments, heart problems, cancer or even death. While the immediate effect of drinking milk adulterated with  urea, caustic soda and formalin is gastroenteritis, the long-term effects are far more  serious.”

Urea can lead to vomiting, nausea and gastritis. Urea is particularly harmful for the kidneys, and caustic soda can be dangerous for people suffering from hypertension  and heart ailments.

H3 Oxytocin

Oxytocin, a banned substance is used to increase the productivity of cows and   buffalos. It’s a hormone that influences milk production and extraction. Use of Oxytocin is still prevalent in Indian villages and diary farms.
Effect of oxytocin on human body-

Once passed on to human body through milk, oxytocin can create hormonal imbalance amongst humans especially growing children –

1. Early breast development
2. Male breast (Gynecomastia)
3. Hormonal imbalance in children
4. Heart diseases including cardiac arrhythmia
5. Increased or decreased blood pressure
6. Premature ventricular contraction
7. Kidney Diseases
8. Eye & memory loss

The adulteration problem is very real

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Police raid adulterated milk-making unit in Alwar
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Consumer body finds 100% milk samples adulterated
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Gutter fate for adulterated milk and ghee
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