Yesterday, when writing about food quality in India, I also mentioned the recent food scandals. There have been a lot of news about food adulteration in India, especially in the last days.
It is Diwali time now. The main celebration days are over now and life comes back to its normal routine. The Diwali days are the highest business season not only for shops that sell Diwali gifts but also for sweet shops and the dairy industry. It is the season of eating sweets and people buy a lot of sweets or make them at home. For a lot of these sweets you need milk and so the demand for milk in these days is especially high. What has been discovered is shocking: in raids and tests authorities daily found thousands of liters of synthetic milk and adulterated milk products being used and sold. Whole tanks of fake milk have been confiscated and thrown away. That is what they could find but who knows how much has been sold and has reached households of celebrating families?
It is not really a very new topic. This has been going on for years, simply because producing milk synthetically is much cheaper than raising a milk cow, feeding it properly and milking it daily. Synthetic milk only costs four to five Rupees per liter. They produce this milk by mixing urea, caustic soda, cheap cooking oil, detergents, water and a tiny bit of natural milk. It has the colour, the structure and even the fat levels of natural milk. It passes the basic tests for fat in milk and is thus openly on the market. It may look and taste like milk but the effect on your body can be dramatic. Synthetic milk can cause loss of sight and hearing and is even said to cause cancer. It is obviously even more dangerous for children and old people.
When looking this up online, I found a figure that is really shocking:
“According to the Delhi Health department estimates, 100,000 litres of synthetic milk and 30 tonnes of thickened milk (khoya) is being manufactured everyday in the city.”
Here they speak only of synthetic milk which is produced by chemical-mixing factories instead of milk cows. But not even all the milk coming from cows is really healthy for you! If you don’t know where your milk comes from, it may well be that it contains the hormone oxytocin. Dairy farms use injections of this hormone to increase the milk production! In our state Uttar Pradesh, the police has recently raided various dairy farms and seized about 13000 hormone injections! Obviously they are now getting more and more strict, search more for such misuse and punish it but it has spread everywhere and is not that easy to stop.
It is also not only the milk that is adulterated. It is all milk products like paneer, yoghurt, ghee and more which is not really made of milk anymore. There is synthetic colour in spices and on vegetables. People have reported that they washed their green peas and had green water! And even more worrying than colour that you can wash off is that the hormone oxytocin is also used for growing vegetables. Injected into a pumpkin or squash, it doubles in size over night! This means bigger vegetables in shorter time which means bigger income. Additionally one such injection costs less than a cent – much cheaper than any fertilizer could be. The vegetables can be sold a bit cheaper to sell more and people who don’t want to or cannot spend much money buy and eat them.
See what is happening! People sell poison in the name of milk and vegetables! Others get ill and may even die of it! It is simply the evil greed for more money that is more important than any feeling for the health of others. Don’t they think of what happens to children when they drink their milk? I am sure those who know what is in their milk don’t drink it themselves! I hope India’s corrupt system will not let this crime grow bigger.
This is just another reason why you have to take care of the quality of what you eat and drink. When you are eating out in India, don’t choose cheap food but go into a proper restaurant with good reputation. If you want to buy milk, buy it from branded and renowned companies. At the Ashram we get our vegetables from the market from farmers of the area who are known here. Their vegetables are smaller if the weather was not good for farming but the taste and quality is great! We even started growing some own vegetables in a small space of our garden. Our milk comes from local milk cows in a farm which we ourselves donated our cows to in the past. We know the farmer, we know the cows and we know where it comes from. It feels good to eat yogurt made at home and to know that any milk that is used in our food is real milk.