Formalin found, sale of 3 milk brands banned

Commissioner asks Tamil Nadu to inspect dairy plants

The Food Safety Commissioner has banned the sale of three brands of milk brought into the State from Tamil Nadu for a month, after formalin or formaldehyde, a chemical preservative, was detected in the milk samples analysed at the Government Analysts Lab here.

The Food Safety Commissioner has written to his counterpart in Chennai to immediately inspect the dairy plants concerned and take “punitive action against the offenders as the public health of both States are involved”.

The milk brands which were found to contain formalin are Heritage-Padmanabha, pasteurised, homogenised, standardised milk from Heritage Food (India) Ltd. in Dindigul district in Tamil Nadu; Jeshma Milk, from Sofia Raja Milk, Vadakkankulam, Tirunelveli; and Maima, from Maima Milk Plant at Arulvaimozhi, Kanyakumari.

Formalin, a chemical used to preserve tissues for biological and histopathological examinations, is added to milk to retain its freshness and prevent it from spoiling. It is a human carcinogen listed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

The chemical was detected in the milk samples which were collected by the food safety officers from the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border check-posts, as part of an intensive drive by the food safety special squads to ensure the safety of various food items being brought into the State from Tamil Nadu during the festival season.

Public cautioned

The Food Safety Commissioner cautioned the public against using other milk products in the same brand names, without testing these properly.

The Commissioner also issued a directive to all food safety officers to collect samples of cotton candy (also known as Bombay Sweet) from across the State immediately and to send these for analysis, after an inspection conducted on the Shanghumughom beach here revealed that cotton candy was coloured with Rhodamine B, a chemical dye.

He said prosecution, levying of fine, and other legal measures would be adopted against those who tried to sell banned food items in the State.

The public should inform the Food Safety Commissioner’s office if they came across any food item with artificial colouring being sold openly.

Chemical found during inspection at check-posts

Directive to collect samples of cotton candy

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