ROHAN SHRIVASTAV | NT
Amidst the controversy over the contamination of fish, yet another shocker comes to Goan consumers: milk packets are imported into the state in uninsulated/unrefrigerated vehicles without maintaining the temperature, which raises questions on the quality and safety of the milk available in local markets.
Sources in the food and drugs and administration said that every day on an average 35-45 milk carrying vehicles enter the state through different check-posts.
Although samples of milk are drawn to check quality, the FDA has overlooked as to how the milk is transported into Goa.
A small quantity of milk consignments is imported in tankers by three different dairies, whose milk is said to be safe. However, a sizable quantum of the milk packets is imported using goods vehicles and mini-trucks that don’t have either refrigeration or insulation facilities.
“There are a few brands which ensure that temperature is maintained for the packed milk while in transit. But the majority of the suppliers doesn’t comply with the guidelines,” the sources claimed.
Temperature must be maintained from the point of packaging to the point of supply or distribution to retailers.
Furthermore, in order to maintain the temperature, milk ought to be transported in insulated vehicles with ice for short distance, while for long distances vehicles with refrigeration facility are required.
Milk packets of four different brands checked by this reporter on Tuesday in the Panaji market give details of the temperature prescribed by them.
The Mahanand-Govind brand recommends consumers to store the milk packet continuously under refrigerator at less than 4 degree Celsius until ‘use by date’. The Gokul brand asks buyers to maintain the temperature at 5 degree Celsius while Amul asks its consumers to keep the temperature at 8 degree Celsius.
The sources said the people involved in importing the milk are not maintaining the prescribed temperatures thus raising questions over the quality and safety of milk.
Over 1.5 lakh litres of milk are imported in Goa from the neighbouring states.
“Apart from Maharashtra and Karnataka, milk is also imported from Gujarat and other places, taking around 12 hours for the transportation. Not all the milk vehicles are insulated,” the sources said asking if insulated vehicles can be made mandatory for the transportation of fish then why can’t for milk and milk products, which also fall under the category of perishable goods.