Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Dr. Harsh Vardhan Dedicates Systems for Detection of Adulteration and Analysis of Milk
The Minister said that he will soon be reaching out to the Union Health Minister and the Health Ministers of all state governments to adopt and deploy this technology platform to address the problem of milk adulteration in the country. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) will also be asked to bring in the required regulatory intervention so as to ensure the delivery of quality milk, he added.
Dr. Harsha Vardhan pointed that our country ranks number one across the world for milk production, contributing to about 18% of the world’s total milk. By volume, milk production is to the tune of about 146 million tonnes in the country. But it is feared that over 60% of the milk is contaminated due to malpractices in milk supply chain which includes dilution with unsafe water. The milk is otherwise said to be adulterated with contaminants such as urea, salt, detergent, liquid soap, boric acid, caustic soda, soda and hydrogen peroxide which have hazardous health effects.
The gravity of the situation had been such that NITI Aayog identified the problem of detecting adulteration in the milk within three minutes at Rs. 4 or less, as one of the Grand Challenge Areas being considered under the Atal Innovation Mission.
In this backdrop, the Minister appreciated the initiative of CSIR for developing and deploying this technology solution, ‘ Ksheer-Scanner ’, which instantaneously detects the above-identified adulterants in milk. It is a low- cost portable system with user-friendly features. It enables detection of contaminants in just 40-45 seconds at the per sample cost of less than 50 paise. The minimum detection levels of major contaminants are: Urea: 1 gm/l; salt: 2 gm/l; detergent: 2 gm/l; soap: 1%; and soda: 1 gm/l.
DG, CSIR Dr. Girish Sahni, stated that among the many benefits of ‘Ksheer Scanner’, the system offers automated scanning of raw milk samples at milk collection points. He remarked that it is safe to use and ideal for installation at milk collection centres of milk societies at village and tehsil levels. The system can also be useful for on-the-spot milk testing by food inspectors. The system has been successfully tested at various dairies located in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, he added.
Prof. R.K Sinha, Director of the CSIR-Central Electronics Engineering Research Institute, Pilani said that the technology, ‘Ksheer Scanner’ has been transferred to Rajasthan Electronics & Instruments Ltd. (REIL) and Alpine Technologies, Surat, Gujarat, for commercialization. He said that some of the field trials were conducted jointly with REIL and they sold about 40 systems which have been deployed at dairies in Gujarat, Goa, Kerala Punjab and Rajasthan,. Currently the system from REIL costs about Rs.1,00,000/- but the price may come down with volumes. Scientists from the Institutes gave a demonstration of the equipment
CSIR is also in the process of building a portfolio of technologies for detecting milk adulteration and analysis of milk quality, namely, ultrasonic-based milk contents analyser (KSHEER ANALYSER) for fats, solid non-fats, protein, lactose, density and water addition; Infra-red Radiation based Fat Analyser (IRFAN); Rapid Milk Analyser (KSHEER ANALYSER+); Milk Adulteration and Content Analysis (KSHEER SCANNER PLUS); and Handheld Milk Adulteration Tester for domestic usage (KSHEER-TESTER).
The ‘Ksheer-Analyser’ is a portable instrument with user-friendly operation that allows for measurement of milk constituents in less than 45 seconds, with accuracy of ± 0.1% of fats and accuracy of ± 0.2% of SNF. This system is targeted at a low cost of less than Rs. 10000.
The ‘Ksheer-Tester’ is a handheld device with a single button operation that allows for detection of adulterants in less than 60 seconds. It allows for measuring contaminants such as Urea: 1gm/l; Salt: 2gm/l; detergent: 2gm/l; soap: 1%; soda: 1gm/l; boric acid and hydrogen peroxide in ppm.
The ‘Ksheer Scanner Plus’ is planned to be an integrated system aimed at detecting adulteration in milk as well as analysing the quality of milk. Efforts are being made to deploy this technology in the next few months.
Besides, CSIR-Central Food Technological Research Institute (CSIR-CFTRI) located in Mysuru has developed a nanosensor kit for rapid detection and quantification of Vitamin A (beta-carotene) in milk. Using the kit, farmers can easily identify the presence and quantity of beta-carotene, an indicator of the micro-nutrient quality of milk. Based on the results, farmers can alter the feed to cattle to increase beta-carotene in milk and can also sell the value added milk (with higher beta-carotene) for a higher price. CSIR aims to make the technology reach farmers at an affordable price. This technology is expected to lead to production of larger quantities of Vitamin A (beta-carotene) rich milk in future to help children to get sufficiency of vitamin A, of which most of them are deprived of now.
These various milk adulteration kits and milk safety testing protocols developed by CSIR will provide effective technology interventions necessary for “Swastha Bharat”, the Minister concluded.