An easy-to-use kit allows testing of milk to thwart milk adulterators. It helps to find out whether what you are drinking is milk or urea, starch, boric acid, soap/detergent, neutraliser, hydrogen peroxide or something else. The strip-based milk-testing kit is the first of its kind in the country. The Defence Food Research Laboratory (DFRL), Mysuru, has transferred the technology developed by them to Navi Mumbai-based Pearl Corporation.
DFRL is under the life science cluster of DRDO. Defence minister Manohar Parrikar, released the milk kit at the Defence Institute of Advanced Technology in Pune on Tuesday. Pearl Corporation has commercialised the technology and launched the milk testing kit under the ‘Test-o-Milk’ brand.
Initially developed to prevent adulterated milk from reaching soldiers, the kits were being used in the field by the defence services. “It is now being commercialised and we want to take this technology to the masses,” Mahesh Rathi, director of Pearl Corporation, said. There was a need for this technology as there is no way to check milk adulterants at home; milk adulteration has reached alarming proportions, he said. This led Rathi to DFRL, which was already using it for the armed forces.
Pearl Corporation will be manufacturing the kit in Navi Mumbai and Daman and will sell it through medical shops and pharmacies. The packs come with a DFRL logo. It is currently being sold across major cities of Maharashtra and will be launched in MP, Rajasthan and Delhi, with a pan India launch by the end of the year. “With the easy-to-use kit, milk can be be tested with test strips that detect chemical adulterants. Though a number of technologies are already available in the market, they target institutions and use a lot of hazardous chemicals, and the equipment is expensive, he said.
The availability of adulterants has emboldened milk vendors all over India to mix synthetic milk in natural milk. The synthetic milk is a mixture of vegetable oil, urea, cane sugar, neutraliser and detergents at appropriate proportions.
The kit will be a deterrent for milk vendors and adulterators, Rathi said. The kit also provides strips to check the microbial quality of milk for freshness, and a lactometer to detect the presence of water.