It was during 80s when packaged milk was introduced in Pakistan. The public was restricted to accept such long lasting milk. To make it acceptable documentaries were aired on PTV to show people how Tetra Pak milk was safe from germs and bacteria.
Gradually, people moved to packaged milk after concerns over the purity of fresh milk. Little did the public know that these brands were selling them the same, or even worse, quality of milk.
Recently, a two judge bench of Supreme Court ordered a chemical examination of all domestic and international brands selling packed milk in Pakistan in September. The order was issued after a petition from Barrister Zafarullah Khan against the government of Punjab for not banning these products.
University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences Lahore (UVAS), University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF), and the Pakistan Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR) were to conduct the analysis without any leniency or fear.
In the submitted report against three companies, advocate Haider Rasul Mirza provided evidences to Supreme Court regarding their unhygienic practices during packing of milk products, on the court’s order. These companies were Al-Fazal Foods, Doce Foods and Gourmet Foods.
All three companies were asked to give details about their positions. Director Punjab Food Authority was also asked to submit report regarding this matter.
While UHT (Ultra Heat Treatment) involves heating milk at a temperature of 135 degrees Celsius for a few seconds before cooling it down again. This results in killing all healthy bacteria as well as nullifying most nutrients.
Other tested milk samples that were found unfit for health were taken from:
Only Prema Milk was found edible amongst all pasteurized milk brands
Six UHT standardised milk samples were also tested and all but Haleeb Milk, were found to be drinkable for humans (names not mentioned in court order).
The UVAS University submitted a detailed report on the contents of these milk products. The report said that sugarcane quantity is present in UHT Haleeb Milk and pasteurised Achaa Milk, Adams Milk and Anhaar Milk.
Amongst pasteurized milk samples, heavy metals were found in Nurpur, Doce, Gourmet and Daily Dairy.
UAF found all UHT samples to be consumable while Adams and Achaa milk were found to contain sugar and formalin.
After reports Supreme Court has ordered all of the named companies to respond to each of the reports where the brand name was mentioned. Once the legal proceedings finish, these products will be banned until they rectify the problems and only market products which are fit for health .
The petitioner is appreciated, this is something which has to be regulated by the food authorities and health ministry.
The worth mention thing is that the public and their children have been drinking hazardous milk for the past three decades and who knows how long this has been going on for.
For the sake of public health , the government must implement a stricter control since all brands (except Prema milk) were named in at least one of the reports for being unhealthy or even dangerous to consume.