Monday, November 29, 1999

NGO alleges packaged milk sold not fit for drinking

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Chandigarh, May 16 (PTI) A Ludhiana-based NGO today alleged that testing of samples of packaged milk being sold in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh has found them unfit for consumption due to presence of harmful bacteria. "We tested the samples at an international lab headquartered in Switzerland on two basic parameters -- the Total Plate Count (TPC) which shows the bacteria count in milk and Coliform Count which is used as a general indicator of sanitary conditions," Rajiv Tandon, President of Consumer Protection Force, told reporters here. The TPC for pasteurised milk as per industry norms is 30,000 cfu/ml. If the TPC is more than 50,000 cfu/ml, then the milk is unfit for human consumption, he said. Tandon claimed that the lab results showed the TPC in all the brands tested ran into lakhs ranging from 10,00,000 cfu/ml to 6,60,00,000 cfu/ml. "Also the Coliform Count was over 60 clu/ml against the allowed 10 clu/ml." He demanded the authorities investigate the matter but declined to identify the brands tested. "We tested seven leading brands both from cop-operative as well as private sector." Reacting to the charges, Punjab MILKFED MD VK Singh told PTI: "We have received the report. But we test and stick to the standards at the plant level. The problem lies at the transportation and at the level of shopkeepers and consumers as the Coliform Count increase with passage of time and if they are not properly refrigerated." Singh said following the report "we have alerted all our plants but the organisation is not mentioning which samples have they tested." PTI VJ.

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