We all have heard news and stories about the kind of adulterants found in milk such as white paint, heavy metals, and formalin. But did you know that adulteration happens at every stage of milk production in your average dairy farm? Unfortunately, due to the lack of training and technique, the conditions in which milk is produced are dismal, and the truth will shock you.
Stage 1 – Conceiving
In order to have a constant supply of milk to meet its ever-growing demand, cows must be artificially inseminated which is where the contamination begins. Undercover studies have revealed that most Indian dairy farms perform this using primitive methods, unsterile equipment and in extremely unhygienic conditions. The cows are repeatedly artificially inseminated till their bodies finally give up. This is a practice which is absolutely unnecessary, and considering there is machinery which makes the process a lot simpler and more hygienic. An unhealthy cow is going to produce milk that is void of nutrition, so organic free range farms are always a better option.
Stage 2 – Milking
Besides the obvious hygiene issues such as human handling of milk, the dairy industry holds a dark secret. Separation of the calf from the mother makes the cow withhold her milk due to anxiety and stress. To counter this, farmers inject the cows with oxytocin, an illegal hormone, and stuff the corpse of the calf with hay to trick her into lactating. Altering milk with oxytocin has adverse effects on human health. Children and women are most susceptible to hormonal imbalance, deformities in infants occur if consumed by pregnant women, and early onset of menarche and puberty in girls.
Stage 3 – Handling
Most of the contamination happens at this crucial stage. In order to increase the volume of milk, dairy farmers add harmful and toxic substances such as hydrogen peroxide, white paint which has been linked to cardiac damage, urea, starch, detergent, boric acid and even caustic acid. Chemicals like hydrogen peroxide can be fatal, and all of these chemicals can cause serious damage to short term and long-term health. The most common adulterant, water, is the most dangerous. Water provides an excellent breeding ground for the omnipresent chemicals and bacteria in adulterated milk. It’s a carrier for water-borne diseases and poses a lot of health risks for humans.
Stage 4 – Packaging
When it comes to small dairy farms and doorstep delivered milk, you may have noticed two types of packaging, one is plastic packets and the other is just a big, metal vessel which contains milk. Both these forms of packaging are unhygienic, easily penetrable and do not protect against outside contaminants. You can never be sure about the containers itself, and unlike tetra packs, they offer no protection from tampering or adulteration.
After all this, is it safe to say that what you’ve been drinking isn’t a 100% milk?