Adulteration of milk
I work in the field of milk cooling and its distribution to processing companies. These companies refuse to purchase milk with high PH levels so I resort to adding ammonia or caustic soda to reduce its acidity to the required level—a common practice in this industry. I am also aware that water is added to the milk I purchase from farms and that its PH is higher than the required level. Are such additions permissible? Is it permissible to add water to milk?
After consulting the Head of the Food Industry and Nutrition Division at the National Research Center and specialists in this field, the following is concluded:
Egyptian as well as other international standards criminalize the act of adding any ingredients, hazardous or otherwise, that changes the physical or chemical properties of milk. Any person who violates these regulations is subject to a punishment the minimum of which is the confiscation of the milk.
Definition of milk
It is the natural secretion of the mammary glands of mammals in which acidity (lactic acid) levels are no higher than 0.16%-0.17%.
The chemical composition of milk
- 87% water;
- 4.5 - 5% carbohydrates (milk sugar - lactose);
- 3 - 3.5% fats (cow milk) and 5.5-9% (buffalo milk);
- 3.3% proteins (cow milk) and 4.5% (buffalo milk);
- Minerals (calcium)-120 mg./liter (cow milk) and 108 mg./liter (buffalo milk);
- Minute quantities of some vitamins and mineral salts.
Methods of adulterating milk
1 – Dilution by adding water or extracting some of the cream.
2 – Adding skim milk.
3 – Adding starch or binding agents to diluted milk to enhance viscosity and consistency.
4 – Adding table salt or sugar to raise the reading of the lactometer and thus increase the specific gravity of milk.
5 – Adding a coloring agent such as anato to give adulterated buffalo milk the appearance of cow milk.
6 – Adding preservatives such as formaldehyde, borax, and hydrogen peroxide or alkaline substances such as sodium carbonate or bicarbonate, caustic soda, ammonia, or antibiotics.
7- Some people might resort to selling reconstituted powdered milk as fresh liquid milk or mix powdered milk with fresh liquid milk.
These and other methods of adulterating milk are unlawful.
Problems associated with milk adulteration
The adulteration of milk results in:
1 – Numerous health problems which differ (in nature) depending on the manner of adulteration.
2 – Reduced nutritional value of milk and dairy products.
3 –Difficulties which arise upon processing milk or in the manufacture of dairy products.
And God the Almighty knows best.