Indian vendors 'sold milk mixed with sewage water'
Indian dairy farmers have spent May calling for stronger legislation that curbs the sale of tainted milk to consumers.
Tue, May 29, 2012 at 06:10 AM
Photo: Indranil Mukherjee/AFP
MUMBAI — Four men in Mumbai have been arrested and charged with selling milk mixed with sewage water in plastic packets scavenged from garbage bins, Indian police said on May 29.
The four vendors, arrested on May 28, are suspected of adulterating milk for the last six months and are accused of putting their customers' health at risk by selling it in a western suburb of the city.
"Cops caught four milk vendors red-handed selling milk packets mixed with sewage water to customers," the Mid Day newspaper reported.
"They were playing with the lives of their customers, especially children. It is not just adulteration but a slow poison for consumers," a police officer told the newspaper from Vile Parle, where the men were caught.
They appeared before magistrates charged with several counts, including the sale of noxious food or drink, and were remanded in custody until May 31, Mumbai police spokesman Nisar Tamboli told AFP, confirming the Mid Day report.
Police, who seized 181 adulterated milk packets and 160 litres of adulterated milk from the vendors, are now investigating if the men were part of a larger racket.
They said one of the vendors' methods was to rummage through garbage bins and collect empty milk packets, which they would fill with 60 percent milk and 40 percent gutter water, before sealing the packet with a burning candle.
The raid comes after a meeting of Indian dairy farmers this month called for strong legislation to curb the malpractice of adulterated milk being sold to consumers.
A study by an Indian government watchdog published in January showed that more than two-thirds of milk in the country was contaminated with substances including salt, detergent, skimmed milk powder, fat, glucose and water.
The survey across 33 states by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India found that 68.4 percent of 1,791 milk samples contained adulterants.
The sale of fake products in branded packaging collected from rubbish dumps is believed to be widespread in India.
In 2010, police busted a gang in New Delhi believed to be making thousands of dollars a month by selling local Indian whisky in the bottles of premium brands such as Johnnie Walker and Glenfiddich.
Copyright 2012 AFP South Asian Edition