Modernizing Milk And Dairy Sector
By Tanveer Ul Islam
as a complete food is inescapable from our daily life. It is
important for the growth of bones as well as for blood
clotting, nerves and muscle functions.
As a calcium-rich diet it
is particularly important between the ages of 11-15, to
prevent osteoporosis, a disease, in which bones become
fragile and become likely to break.
Osteoporosis can also lead
to other complications like stunted height and a hunched
back due to of collapsing of bones in the spinal region.
The adulteration of milk
with water not only lowers its quality but can lead to a
number of health problems related to potential waterborne
The use of detergents for
adulteration purposes can cause food poisoning and other
gastrointestinal complications. Its high alkaline level can
also damage body tissue and destroy proteins.
Other synthetic components
used can cause impairments, heart problems, cancer or even
The immediate effect of
drinking milk adulterated with urea, caustic soda and
formalin is gastroenteritis, vomiting, nausea while the
long- term effects are more severe.
Caustic soda is harmful for
kidneys also and can prove fatal for people suffering from
hypertension and heart diseases. Formalin can cause more
severe damage to the body, such as liver damage. The health
impact of drinking milk adulterated with these chemicals is
worse for children.
Pakistan is the 3rd largest
milk producing country in the world but the sector has not
developed to its maximum potential.
Only 3-4% of total milk
produced is processed through formal dairy industry and
marketed through formal channels; the remaining 96% to 97%
reaches end users through traditional middlemen (known as
Gawala or Dhodis), acting as key players in the milk supply
While collecting and
delivering milk these traditional milk sellers find ample
opportunity to adulterate the milk to increase its quantity
and to make financial gain.
Interestingly, they use
sophisticated adulterants hard to detect by the milk
processors. This wide spread milk adulteration has enormous
social, economic and health implications.
Presently the Pure Food Rules
of 1965, the Cantonment Pure Food Rules of 1967 (for
military areas), and parts of the Pakistan Penal Code of
1860 are applicable to the dairy industry along with other
The Punjab government has
taken the lead amongst the provinces by introducing the Pure
Food Laws 2007 and Food Safety Standards Act 2011.
The above legislative and
regulatory measures legislate for the dairy industry,
including milk marketing and adulteration, in Pakistan. But
the ground situation tells that there are other
complimentary steps also need to be taken to curb this
The need to establish milk adulteration prevention
legislation framework in Pakistan is becoming necessary for
provision of pure milk to Pakistani citizens.
Considering the health perils
faced by over 180 million Pakistanis due to widespread and
ever increasing milk adulteration, Plan International,
Pakistan has initiated a campaign for milk anti-adulteration
laws. A policy draft has been prepared for the adoption of
the Government of Punjab.
The overall objective of this
policy brief is to make milk safer for consumers by curbing
adulteration at every level of the milk value chain.
Emphasizing the need of prevention of milk adulteration,
Rashid Javed, Country Director Plan Pakistan, says that the
initiative will not only ensure quality milk but have long
term economic, health and social positive implications for
The Pakistan dairy industry
in general is constrained by a number of major issues: low
productivity, seasonality in milk supply, a patchy
distribution system, the absence of cold chains, and
unhygienic handling at farm and middleman level, leading to
poor milk quality and the inability to meet international
All these issues need to be
addressed before we think of checking the milk adulteration.
The corruption, inefficiency, and lack of political will to
implement the legislation complicate the issue.
According to Plan Pakistan, the adoption of the milk
anti-adulteration policy will ensure increase investment in
the sector and will create additional spillover of economic
activity in terms of promotion of local manufacturing of
dairy equipment and machinery, resulting in increased labour
Additional jobs will be
created at the village level through increased demand for
milk technicians, chiller mechanics and vehicle
The policy will also
strengthen technical capacities of laboratory staff in all
districts, including activation and support of relevant
Government department for enforcing regularity measures.
The entire milk chain needs to be modernized by setting up
cooling chain infrastructure and provision of trainings to
the milk producing farmers on modern farming and animal
The Punjab Food Safety Act
2011 that introduces a rigorous punishment for adulteration
must be enforced in letter and spirit. Districts should be
equipped with laboratories to detect adulteration in milk
and dairy products.
Veterinary officers should be
empowered to collect milk samples from urban and rural areas
and take action. There must be frequent sampling and testing
of milk at farms, collection and sale units operated by the
There is a need to introduce
licensing system for those involved in the milk business
including traditional milk sellers, and contractors.
Milk processors should
introduce incentives for the farmers and supplier to supply
quality milk without adulteration. The relevant government
departments should be provided with trained human resources
to keep an effective check on the whole business.
Milk storage as ice blocks in
the ice factories and cold stores should be instantly banned
because malpractice has serious health implications.