Two samples of milk produced by Mother Dairy have been found to be substandard, and one of them contained detergent, a food watchdog official noted. A Mother Dairy official denied the charges, saying the company conducts "stringent quality tests", and the substandard milk was wrongly attributed to it.
Ram Naresh Yadav, chief of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) department in Agra, said two samples were taken from Mother Dairy's collection centres in Bah tehsil, 70 km from Agra city, in November 2014.
"The samples were sent to the Lucknow laboratory which declared both of them substandard. The company challenged the results and demanded the samples be sent to the Kolkata lab, which too found them defective. In fact, the Kolkata lab found one sample contained detergent," Yadav told IANS. However, a Mother Dairy official denied the allegations.
"It is very unfortunate that the samples collected at the village level are being wrongly attributed to Mother Dairy," said Sandeep Ghosh, business head for milk at Mother Dairy Fruit & Vegetable Pvt. Ltd.
"We would like to clarify that at Mother Dairy, milk undergoes four levels of thorough testing at input, processing, dispatch level and even at market level. Every the milk tankers that reach our plants pass a series of 23 stringent quality tests to check of any deviation from defined parameters.
"These tests assist in detecting contamination of milk through water, urea, detergent, oil, etc. For any such adulteration, the milk is immediately rejected from further processing. Only after securing clearance from all quality measures, the milk is then accepted for processing and re-examined after processing," Ghosh said.
The Mother Dairy official said that as a "responsible organisation", they follow "100 percent testing protocol rather than resorting to random testing procedures".
"To ensure only best and safe quality milk for our consumers, we make sure that every batch of milk is again tested before dispatch." He also said Mother Dairy follows a "unique practice" of testing its own milk at retail points too.
Around 100 samples from the market are tested on a daily basis, thus ensuring that the products available are safe for consumption, Ghosh said. The spokesperson said supplies were often rejected by the company if found to be substandard.
"The rejections are due to quality concerns and may vary. We rejected 10 milk tankers in December 2014. The rejected milk is not permitted inside our premises and returned back to the suppliers," the official said.