Scope of Clean Milk in India: By Rahul Uppal, CEO Woohoo Doodh

KJ Staff
KJ Staff

Milk in India is considered to be the purest form of food and one of nature’s most valuable gifts to mankind. With today’s lifestyle, there is an increase in the demand of pure milk which makes the market competitive. Over the last three decades, India has emerged as one of the largest milk producers, accounting for 18.5 percent of global milk production.  

As per an Edelweiss report in 2017, it was stated that with an increase in the preference of a healthy lifestyle and consumerism, the Dairy industry in India is expecting an annual growth of 15 percent by 2020. With such high demand and competition, there are thick chances of the industry being loomed with health crisis due to certain activities like chemical contaminants in the milk.  

In India, there are large farms on which most of the procurement is dependent, while in the developed countries, they work in an ecosystem of large corporate dairy farms. In India, 80 percent of milk industry remains unorganized while the other 20 percent of the daily milk produced is pasteurized and channeled through the organized segment. The milk supply comes from millions of small producers based in rural areas who have an average of one or two animals comprising cows and/or buffaloes. 

Another important aspect of this industry is the collection of the milk. The milk is collected by the vendors from local producers while selling it in rural as well as urban areas. With all this travel and translation, it brings to the notice that the supply chain is inefficient where the large amount of milk produced does not meet the basic hygiene standards which further makes it unfit for consumption due to the number of intermediaries involved as it gives way to adulteration. In fact, 80 percent of the milk which is unpasteurized and un-chilled can pose a serious health hazard and cause milk borne diseases like Typhoid. In 2012 Food Safety and Standards Authority of India conducted a survey in 33 states and concluded that of 1,791 milk samples, 68.4 percent of milk was examined and found contaminated. In urban areas, 70 percent of the samples were found to be contaminated, in rural areas it stood at 31 percent. Hence, clean milk production is the need of the hour from a public health and economic point of view.

Practices for Clean Milk Production and Supply  

In this industry, the health of the animal is imperative for producing fresh and nutritious  milk. One should appoint well-qualified and expert veterinarian for a regular check on the animal’s health. From vaccination to de-worming, a regular schedule helps keep up the quality mark.  

In today’s era of increased awareness and demands of consumer, the key focus should be on quality and keeping it intact at every level. Right from the scratch of setting a farm to processing, packaging and supplying the milk, every level should be considered vital. The famers or the milking person should have a regular health check-up. Good hygiene practices can further help in preventing the contamination while milking. With the advent of milking machines which are technologically advanced and much more hygienic than using hands, should be considered for the process.

Milking machines efficiently remove the milk without damaging the teats of the cow and include the following benefits – time efficiency, clean milk as no dust or external particles can get mixed, risk of sore hand/arms is done away with and the milk can be cooled off faster which ensures the taste of the milk remains fresh. Apart from following good farm management practices sanitary precautions to prevent and control the diseases should be adopted. The animals should be properly bathed and examined periodically for udder and other infections. Sustainable practices such as open farming, not administering any external hormones to the cows, feeding the cows freshly cut green fodder and hygienic milking procedures should be adopted as a necessity.  

The udder should be kept clean and washed gently to avoid the damages to the teats. The best practice for washing is to use 3 buckets, one with plain water, second with disinfecting solution and the third with a mild detergent solution. Three different cloths should be used for the purpose of the entire process of cleaning and wiping after the milking. 

Processing and packaging is equally important to ensure the milk is delivered fresh. Processing includes keeping the milk at an ideal temperature, pasteurization and homogenization and then again ensuring the milk travels at an ideal temperature of 4 degrees Celsius. Also, if the milk is delivered within 24 hours of milking, the milk doesn’t require any preservatives. There are various packaging solutions but “Gable Top” is considered to be the most effective and eco-friendly solution. It can be shredded in any paper mill and segregated as paper waste from households which further helps to reduce pollution and contributes in preserving the environment. 

Hence, these practices can eventually increase the scope of clean milk in India, especially in the age of consumerism and preference for healthy milk.       

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