PESHAWAR: The Peshawar Livestock Department in September last month sealed 15000 liters white liquid being sold as milk.
According the district officer Livestock Department Dr Syed Masoom said the white liquid was not milk rather a white poison, sold as milk.
“We even have seized 50,000 liters containing Formalin, detergents, vanaspati ghee, Ammonium Sulfate, hydrogen peroxide and fertilisers,” he said while talking to The News Eye.
To make a quick buck, the sellers add inferior and highly hazardous chemicals that could cause kidney, liver and threatening health problems if consumed.
The adulteration is done first by applying detergents especially shampoo to create foam. Through continuous shake, the shampoo changes its colour and become white, said that district officer.
Then fertilisers, Formalin, caustic soda are added. “They also add vanaspati ghee to create cream and sweeteners like sugarcane juice to bring taste,” he said.
In some cases, these chemicals are added to fresh milk, to increase its quantity to make profit. By adding substandard substances depreciate milk’s quality that substitutes valuable ingredients.
Pure milk’s composition is collection of nutrients which are highly essential for balanced growth. This is the only food which people of every age take.
“You contaminate milk you contaminate several foods –yogurt, butter, cheese. These adulterants alter the real value of highly valuable food that is basic and everyone use it,” Dr Masoom said.
The consumers are unaware whether they use pure and fresh milk or white poison at high cost. The Livestock Department has set up a laboratory where everyone could test ‘milk’ sample and find within minutes what they are consuming.
He said there was a dire need to aware masses regarding the use of poison in shape of milk and to convince them either to stop consuming it or ensure that they were getting pure and fresh milk.
“This is like slow poisoning which tantamount to attempt to murder,” commented a junior officer of the department.
The Livestock Department has so far fined over 300 milk sellers for selling adulterated milk and imposed fines of over a million of rupees.
The Livestock Department and district government joint teams conduct raids who can impose a fine of upto 50,000 and seal the shop for repeating of the crime.
Officials at the department said that proper legislation should be done and the adulterators should be booked under criminals laws
Talking to The News Eye, Senior Nephrologist Dr Syed Munir said consuming such chemical might affect kidneys directly or indirectly and cause acute renal failure.
The criminal fraud continue without any check as the provincial government has recently set up Food Regulatory Authority and hiring for it would soon be completed.
According to media reports, around 70 percent of milk in Pakistan is adulterated.
Formalin is applied on dead bodies to preserve them, Dr Masoom said, adding that the chemical is added to milk that was very essential food item.
“We have tested so many samples that contains Formalin and other chemicals, consuming it like slow poisoning,” Dr Masoom said.
In August 2016, the Supreme Court of Pakistan had taken a suo moto notice of adulterated milk after Barrister Zafarullah of Watan Party moved a petition. The court was told that use of highly toxic white liquid and contaminated milk was among the leading causes of Hepatitis C among masses.
Doctors at the Kidney Institute at Hayatabad Medical Complex admit a rise in number of kidney patients. Though, the center has no specific data to show exact number of kidney disease caused due to use of such contaminated food.
Excessive consumption of such poisonous chemicals may damage the kidneys and may put a patient on dialysis or kidney transplant.
Nutritionist Bibi Hajra told The News Eye that there was milk and milk products that were prescribed to patients. “If the milk is contaminated, the products we gain from it would definitely be contaminated,” she said.
Nutritionists in hospitals have almost stopped prescribing milk of the ‘white liquid’ patients due to adulteration.
Hajra said in some surgical cases, they prescribe fresh milk which if adulterated might seriously affect patient. She said milk is a balance diet that if prescribed to children with stunted growth and nutrient deficient.
“We strictly ask parents either to get fresh milk directly from a dairy farm or buy a buffalo or cow to get fresh milk,” she said, adding the milk available at markets might further harm them.
Considered as slow poisoning, use of these adulterants in milk is like an attempt to deprive people of their right to life.
“This is a serious human rights violation as the adulterers are not poisoning one or two persons rather the whole society and an attempt to deprive them of their right to life,” commented a senior officer at the Human Right Commission Cell.
However, he said they were not authorized to take action on their own as per rules. “We can ask the person to appear and explain your position in case a complaint is filed against him but we could not take action on our own,” the official said, requesting not to be named.
Though he admitted that it was a serious human right violation but the law under which they were operating did not allow the commission to launch a crackdown on such a large scale.
They nutritionists have stopped prescribing milk to patients keeping in view the contamination.