Sunday, February 17, 2019 | ePaper

Take urgent step to ensure contamination-free milk

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A government-commissioned study has found excessive levels of lead, chromium, pesticide and antibiotic in raw cow milk which would be causes of cancer among children and adult as they intake milk regularly considering its high food value. The study conducted by the National Food Safety Laboratory found heavy metal in milk that basically came from fodder, while pesticide exists because of its excessive use in the grass and other agricultural feeds. A large part of the population cannot afford infant formula milk and are wholly dependent on cow's milk for subsidiary feeding.
The study was conducted after collecting 96 samples of cow raw milk, 30 of cow feed, 33 of curd and 31 of packed milk -- randomly from 18 places in Dhaka, Gazipur and Narayanganj.  The findings showed that 15 per cent raw milk and 3 per cent packed milk had high lead and aflatoxins higher than the maximum residue level which is legally tolerated in food or feed. About 69 per cent of samples of cow feed had higher levels of chromium, 100 per cent of samples had drug residues, while excessive aflatoxins were found in 19 per cent cow feeds. About 96 per cent of raw milk had the presence of higher levels of bacteria, while bacteria found in 66-80 per cent samples of local and imported packed milk.
Despite significant progress in the public health sector, food-borne diseases remain a major health concern in Bangladesh. It needs continuous quality assessment of milk and milk products, to prevent those diseases. Regular consumption of milk contaminated with pesticide residues may cause pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, leukaemia, skin sensitisation, allergic reaction and rash. Besides, excessive use of antibiotics like enrofloxacin and cyprosin in cattle feeds may cause antibiotic resistance, which reduces or eliminates the effectiveness of antibiotics on bacterial infection and diseases.
Contaminated cow feed and excessive use of antibiotics are the main reasons for the presence of heavy metals in milk. Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security and development today. Heavy metals in milk or any edible items may cause a wide range of health effects apart from cancer.

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