Milk is considered as nature’s most unique food. The major and minor constituents/nutrients of milk include milk fat, protein (casein and whey proteins), carbohydrates (lactose, also known as milk sugar), minerals (calcium, phosphorous), vitamins (A, B, D), enzymes etc.
The nutrients in milk are present in a balanced proportion making it a complete food. In addition most of these nutrients (such as minerals) in milk are present in a form that are easily absorbed in our body. Some individual components of milk also exhibit specific nutritional and health promoting properties.
Since time immemorial , milk is being consumed by the human beings of all age groups, either as liquid milk or in the form of various nutritious products such as dahi, paneer, buttermilk (chhass), shrikhand, ghee, butter (makhan), milk based sweets, etc.
The unique composition of milk (water and other nutrients) makes it a highly perishable commodity. It is an ideal medium for growth of microorganisms and, therefore, highly susceptible to microbial spoilage. If not produced and handled in a proper hygienic manner, various types of spoilage and disease-producing organisms can grow in milk and milk products and make these unfit/unsafe for human consumption.
Therefore, it is very important that milk particularly after production is handled in a hygienic manner and processed properly so that it not only retains its quality and but also remains good for a longer period before consumption.
Consumers have a right to good quality and safe milk and milk products. As milk and milk products are largely consumed by people of all age groups, which include sensitive populations like young children and aged people also, it is important that dairy products available for consumption are safe and of good quality.
In this direction, NDDB is working closing with dairy cooperatives and milk producers’ owned dairy organisations, providing them assistance in addressing food safety and quality related issues along the dairy value chain. NDDB also supports these dairy organisations by facilitating development of an enabling food regulatory environment through active cooperation with food standards/regulatory organizations.
On the regulatory front, the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 and various Regulations, thereunder are enforced by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, in collaboration with the other regulatory agencies in States, to regulate the food industry ensure quality and safety of all food products, including dairy products The dairy sector as such is dealt more comprehensively by the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006 and the Regulations thereunder, given the extensiveness of the provisions relating to milk and milk products/dairy businesses in these Regulations. This highlights the importance of milk and milk products as a sensitive food.
Consumers can also safeguard themselves by following some simple steps such as purchasing:
- milk and milk products of reputed and trustworthy manufacturers
- only those milk and milk products whose packages clearly mention contact details (email, phone number) for registering complaints, if any, with respect to quality of products etc.
In addition to these steps, consumers also need to handle milk and milk products strictly in accordance with the guidance given on product labels in respect of storage temperatures, shelf life of the products etc. to ensure that these remain fit and safe till consumption.