Milk in India

I just finished reading Marion Nestles book, What to Eat. She gives a comprehensive walk through tour of an American Supermarket with nutritional, dietary and political commentary thrown in. In her chapter on milk she describes how milk is collected from many cows, all fat extracted - and then added back according to required percentages. From a nutritional standpoint, she warns against consuming too many saturated fats from dairy products - a primary source for vegetarians.

Other critical issues are the use of growth hormones like rbst , usually with high amounts of antibiotics typically peddled by multinational companies.

I have bucolic memories of fresh buffalo milk being delivered to our doorstep. Only years later , did we make the transition to milk in plastic sachets, and finally to a lower fat % milk. I wanted to test out this eldorado of milk memory- was i actually consuming rbst and antibiotics as a child? Here is a quick answer.

Milk in urban India is a child of that 60's miracle called Operation Flood. Funded primarily by foreign sources, it was remarkable for two features- incorporating social equity by using cooperatives and of course for making milk available everywhere in India. Milk supply in India is changing atleast on the first count - the influx of multinationals. A case in point is Dynamix, a company whose 49% of equity is held by Shreiber international, an American multinational. With operations set up in Baramati, Maharashtra - its products are snapped up by other multinationals such as Mc Donalds for which Dynamix is a major supplier.

On the other hand are numerous small time players, usually city specific. While rbst has been banned in India according to most internet resources, several organisations have found high concentrations of antibiotics and pesticides ( like urea) in milk and carbonated drinks.

Should you be worried about the milk your children consume in India? If you are lucky to have a consumer education society in your city , best check their reports from periodically to make sure your brand of milk meets all specifications. Some reports can be found at http://www.cercindia.org/ .