Observes Milma commits a fraud when it sells milk made from powder

A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Monday orally warned Milma that unless it removed the declaration ‘fresh and pure’ from its packets and printed there that it had added skimmed milk powder, the court would prohibit it from converting milk powder into milk and selling the same as ‘fresh milk.’

The Bench comprising Justice S. Siri Jagan and Justice Babu Mathew P. Joseph made the oral observation while hearing an appeal filed by Martin Paiva against a single judge’s verdict allowing Milma to hike the prices of milk.

When the case came up for hearing, the judges asked counsel for Milma whether skimmed milk powder was added to Milma milk. When the counsel answered in the affirmative, they said Milma was really committing a fraud on the people by such act. The court could not allow such practice, they said. The court asked the counsel to inform it whether Milma was willing to delete the words ‘fresh and pure’ from its packet and instead, imprint the words ‘skimmed milk powder added’ on its packets. The court orally observed that unless it undertook a submission that it would remove such declaration, the court would consider restraining it from converting milk powder into milk and selling it as ‘pure milk.’

Mr. Paiva pointed out that Milma was importing milk power, converting it into milk and marketing it by declaring on the packets that it was fresh and pure milk. It amounted to adulteration of milk, for which, a case could be registered against it under the Food Adulteration Act.

The court had last time said that milk produced out of the milk powder could not be called fresh milk because fresh milk meant farm fresh milk, i.e., milk in its original form after pasteurisation.

The court was of the view that Milma should not be permitted to mislead the public in this fashion, though they were entitled probably to import milk powder and market it in retail packets.

The Bench had remarked that after all, any household could make milk from milk powder and they did not need any assistance from Milma.

K.G. Satheesh, Manager (Marketing) of Kerala Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation(Milma) in an earlier affidavit had said that even after purchasing milk from outside the State, if the supply of milk was found inadequate, Milma bought skimmed milk powder for “ recombining/reconstituting to milk,” and it was an accepted practice the world over.

The affidavit said the National Diary Development Board had been allowed to import milk power. It distributed the power to various federations for reproducing it as milk. The import was necessitated as the indigenous production was not sufficient. The issue of milk deficiency was resolved by resorting to this practice.

The court adjourned the case to February 18.