SC wants action to check milk adulteration

New Delhi, July 2 (IANS) Expressing concern over the availability and sale of adulterated milk across the country, the Supreme Court Tuesday said this has become a “sensitive” problem and needs to be checked.

The apex court bench of Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan and Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose inquired what action was being taken by the central and state governments to curb the menace.

“It is a sensitive issue,” the court said, as petitioner’s counsel Anurag Tomar told the court that the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has found that milk is adulterated even with detergents.

Tomar appeared for Swami Achyutanand Tirth, who is the head of Haridwar-based Bhuma Niketan Ashram.

The petition contended that “apathy and inaction” of the central and state governments in taking “effective and necessary” measures in curbing the sale of chemically-prepared and adulterated milk violated the fundamental right to life guaranteed under the constitution.

The court, while asking Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan to file their replies on the petition, indicated that it may expand the scope of the petition for checking sale of adulterated milk.

The central government on Oct 22, 2012, told the apex court that an overwhelming quantity of milk being supplied in the market, both in packets and in the loose form, was not conforming to the quality standards laid under the food safety law.

In urban and rural areas, 68.4 percent (1,226) samples of milk were found to be non-conforming to the quality standards.

Pointing out that water was the most common adulterant, the food safety and standards regulator told the court addition of milk reduced its nutritional value, but if contaminated water was used it posed a health risk to consumers.

The apex court May 9, 2012, issued notice to the central, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana and Rajasthan governments.

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