Milk hygiene practice in India

Generally animals are milked at least twice a day worldwide including India, which can influence hygiene quality of milk considerably.

Tropical climate, inadequate cooling facilities, widespread adulteration, lack of quality consciousness and small scale scattered production are the prevailing conditions in India. In India milk production and distribution are currently being followed in a unorganized way. However, in a modular system, which is carried out in a highly organized way like ANAND pattern cooperative system operating in Gujarat, the individual milk producer supplies the milk within 1-3 hours of production to a village level society.

This is transported twice-a-day in cans within 3-5 hours to the district level dairy plant under ambient conditions.

In an Indian situation, where the dairy plant is far off, the milk from village society goes to a chilling centre, cooled below 50C and then transported to the district level dairy plant. Here it is pasteurized and supplied to the consumer. In developed countries, it is a common practice to cool the milk immediately in the farm, and the same is collected by the dairy plants every day or alternate day or twice a week. This practice requires cold storage of milk at collection centres for 2-3 days before it is processed.

In western countries, the problem of milk borne diseases have been solved completely by enforcing strict laws. Animals are periodically tested for contagious diseases and all measures are taken to produce milk free from pathogens.

Even though these conditions are not strictly followed in our country, the habit of boiling in milk invariably before consumption by the consumer has probably saved them from serious milk borne infections, and Milk Products Order (MMPO). In India, in 1991 as a part of the economic reforms, the dairy sector was delicensed. This effectively opened the industry to private entrepreneurs. The Government of India promulgated the Milk and Milk Products Order (MMPO) in June 1992.

MMPO prescribes certain provisions for the orderly development of the dairy industry. One of the key features include that all plants handling between 10000 and 75000 litres/day or producing milk products containing more than 500 and 3750 tonnes of milk solids per year are required to be registered by the State authorities, while those processing over 75000 litres/day or more than 3750 tonnes per year of milk solids require registration with the central government.

The premise in which milk or any milk product is being handled, processed or manufactured, stored or distributed, by the holder of the registration certificate, and the person handling them shall conform to the sanitary requirement and standards.

— The premises shall be clean, adequately illuminated and ventilated, properly white washed or painted. There shall be proper and adequate arrangements for disinfection and deodorization. There should preferably be space around it on all sides.

— Employees suffering from a hand or face injury, suppurating skin infection or clinically recognizable infectious disease shall not be permitted to work in the premises.

A person having a bandage, plaster or protective cover for any injury shall not be allowed to handle raw materials or unprotected products.

— The staff working in processing and preparation of product shall be provided with white aprons or uniforms and head gears, which shall be clean.

— The management shall see that all workers are neat, clean and tidy.

— The management shall also provide facemasks to all workers working in butter, powder and cheese making and packing section.

— Motor vehicles, tank wagons, trolleys, insulated containers etc used for transport or distribution of milk products shall always be maintained in clean condition and all the parts coming in contact with milk shall be made of stainless steel or food grade resin coating impregnated with fibre glass.

— Every three years the surfaces shall be coated with food grade resin and a certificate thereof shall be kept for inspection in case of resin coated vessels.

— Adequate CIP system shall maintained, each consisting of hot water, acid and lye tank with necessary pipes and fittings provided in such a way that the CIP solution is circulated to each and every equipment till all equipment and accessories are cleaned up to required standards.

— The equipment used for handling milk and milk products shall conform to sanitary standards as may be fixed from time to time by Milk and Milk Products Advisory Board (MMPAB).

(Rubyta Chanam—Regd No 14-VK-77— is a student of CVSc, AAU)

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