POST TIME: 26 June, 2019 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 26 June, 2019 01:41:59 AM
DU tests find detergent, antibiotics in cow’s milk
Prohibited ‘cyclamate’ found in samples of 11 fruit drinks; BSTI report to HC says no harmful elements found in milk
Staff Reporter with DU Correspondent, Dhaka

DU tests find detergent, antibiotics in cow’s milk

Tests conducted by the Dhaka University on pasteurised and non-pasteurised raw milk in the market has identified the presence of detergents and antibiotics in all the samples. The tests, jointly conducted by Dhaka University’s Pharmacy Faculty and Biomedical Research Centre, found pasteurised milk manufactured by Pran, Milk Vita, Igloo, Aarong, and Farm Fresh all contain the substances hazardous for human health.

The Pharmacy Department of Dhaka University yesterday revealed the report stating that pasteurised milk, ghee, oil, spices and fruit drinks sold on the market are rich in crude and harmful materials.

Moreover, six out of the seven tested samples of milk did not contain the desired quantity of ‘fat in milk’, and there was no desired amount of ‘solid not fat’ in any of them. According to the BSTI standard, ‘fat in milk’ should be 3.5 per cent and ‘solid not fat’ should be more than 8.25 per cent.

Meanwhile, in sharp contrast to the DU findings, a report placed by the Bangladesh Standards Testing Institute (BSTI) before the High Court (HC) yesterday said it did not find any harmful elements after conducting tests on 18 samples of 14 branded packaged milk from the market.

Talking to this correspondent, BSTI deputy director Riajul Haque said they collected 18 samples from the market and conducted tests, but did not find any harmful element in the 14 branded packed milk.

The brands are: Pura, Ayran, Aarong Dairy, Farm Fresh Milk, Moo, Milk vita, Aftab, Ultra, Tania (200gm), Igloo, Pran Milk, Dairy Fresh, Milk Fresh and Cowhead Pure Milk.

During yesterday’s proceedings, BSTI lawyer barrister Sarker M Hasan Mamun wanted to submit the report before the HC bench of Justice Syed Refaat Ahmed and Justice Iqbal Kabir, saying that the BSTI authorities did not find any harmful ingredients in the 14 branded pasteurised milk after conducting tests.

But the HC bench said a similar matter on suo motu rule remained pending before another bench of the HC, which had asked both the BFSA and BSTI to submit a report before it by June 23 after conducting lab tests on cow milk, curd and fodder samples picked up from the market.

“So, you (BSTI lawyer) move the case before that bench by filing this report. It will not be good if two cases run in two separate benches of the HC for a similar matter. It will be better to submit the BSTI report before that bench,” the HC bench said.

But advocate Aneek R Hoque, counsel for the petitioner, told the court that the matter was now nearing completion by this bench.

“We want to dispose of the case by your lordship,” Hoque said.

Later, the bench adjourned hearing

till Thursday.  Advocate Tanvir Ahmed, a Supreme Court lawyer, filed the writ petition before the HC on May 20 last year, following several reports published in national dailies saying that 75 per cent of the pasteurised milk in the market were not safe.

Following the writ petition, the HC bench asked the BSTI to submit a test report after collecting samples from the market.

The BSTI authorities prepared the report and handed it over to its lawyer for submitting it before the bench, in line with the HC directive.

The DU Pharmacy Department report also revealed that prohibited cyclamate was found in samples of 11 fruit drinks. These are Star Ship Mango Fruit Drinks, Sazan Mango Drinks, PranFruto, Orangee, Pran Junior Mango Fruit Drink, RitalFruitika, Sun Drop, Chaba, Red Apple, Sun vital Nectar De Mango, Lotte Sweetened Apple and Tropicana Twister.

Apart from this, turmeric and chilli powder were found to be contaminated.  The presence of toxic methanol yellow textile colour has been detected in the turmeric powder.

The main researcher of the study, ABM Faruque, professor of clinical pharmacy in the pharmacology department of Dhaka University, said: “Excessive coliforms have been found in the milk of these companies. Besides, antibiotics have also been found in some milk. Traces of antibiotics that we found were meant for human consumption. Antibiotics for humans and animals are totally different. We need to stop the use of antibiotics meant for humans on animals, because it might have fatal consequences when humans consume them through animals.”

Milkvita, a government organisation, is selling poor-quality milk. In that case, what will people drink?  

In response to this question, Prof. Faruque said: “I also have the same question. But whom do we ask?  The truth is, those who have the opportunity to carry out dishonest trade will do it— irrespective of whether it is a government or non-government organisation. Appropriate action has to be taken to stop this. We have researched and disclosed the results day after day. But the policy makers have to work on these issues.”

It may be mentioned that during a suo motu rule hearing, an HC bench, comprising Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justic KM Hafizul Alam, had on May 21 expressed dissatisfaction over the activities of the BSTI and the BFSA. It had directed them to submit a report by June 23 after conducting lab tests on raw cow milk, curd and fodder samples picked up from the market.

BSTI sources said it had conducted lab tests on 305 items of raw cow milk, curd and fodder samples. It found all items, except two, to be of standard quality.

The BSTI submitted the test report before the HC bench on June 23 as per its earlier directive. After receiving the report, the HC bench wanted to know the names and particulars of the companies and firms that are producing and supplying milk and curd in Dhaka without having any licence. It asked the BSTI to submit a report before it by July 15.

The HC bench issued a suo motu rule following a report by the National Food Safety Laboratory (NFSL) that said in 93 samples of liquid milk, out of the 96 collected from the market, the presence of substances harmful for the human body had been detected.

According to the report, 18 out of 31 powder milk samples contained harmful substances. The NFSL said it found the presence of excessive levels of lead and pesticides in raw cow’s milk, regular consumption of which could pose threat to human health.