FSDA uncovers major synthetic milk racket; urea detergent used for production

AGRA: The Food Safety and Drug Administration (FSDA) department has uncovered a major synthetic milk racket in which the accused were working in connivance with officials from the department and were using adulterants like hydrogen peroxide, detergent and urea for production.

FSDA, district administration and police had conducted a raid at three houses in Kukhreliya village under Barhan police station on May 25. The team had seized adulterants in large quantities and had caught a woman manufacturing synthetic milk. She was arrested and an FIR was registered against five people.

Soon after, four samples of milk were sent to the food testing laboratory in Lucknow, but the authorities there had stated that the samples were substandard and were hence unfit for testing. FSDA assistant commissioner Vineet Kumar, who headed the raid, had raised an objection to the Lucknow laboratory’s report and had sought permission from the higher authorities to get the remaining samples tested at a laboratory in Kolkata.

The samples were found to be unfit for human consumption as they contained hydrogen peroxide, detergent and urea among other adulterants. On this basis of the Kolkata laboratory’s report, Kumar had sought action against not only the accused, but also against the departmental officials involved in the matter. “At the time of the raid, we had destroyed more than 2000 litres of synthetic milk. Besides, around 67 litres of refined soyabean oil, 22 kg of vanaspati, two litres of liquid detergent, 72 kg of glucose powder, 34 kg of skimmed milk powder, 325 litres of an unidentified chemical, 35 kg of viscous paste and 56 litres of refined palm oil were also seized,” Kumar said.

He added, “As the racket involved some well-connected people, I had kept senior officials in the loop. After the samples were found to be substandard, several fraudulent complaints were also made against me at the headquarters. The Kolkata report proves that there is a nexus and some of our officials are involved in corruption.”

Kumar said that he has formed a special squad to deal with such cases. “The team first gathers enough evidence before conducting a raid,” he said.

Sources said that remote areas like Dauki, Kheragarh and Barhan are huge markets for adulterated milk and are also a stronghold of the milk mafia.

As per an official estimate, the daily requirement of milk in Agra district is around 12 lakh litres and around 25% of it is fulfilled by adulterated products. In terms of supply, the share of packaged milk in 40% and that of open milk is 60%. According to sources, adulterers add synthetic milk to open milk after which its cost goes down by at least Rs 20 per litre.

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