SC pulls up govt on spu­ri­ous milk, wants law in win­ter ses­sion

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The Supreme Court has de­manded an ex­pla­na­tion from the Cen­tre for the de­lay in en­act­ing a de­ter­rent law to check adul­ter­ation of milk and milk prod­ucts with harm­ful chem­i­cal sub­stances.

A Bench com­pris­ing Jus­tices MY Eqbal and Shiva Kirti Singh said they wanted the gov­ern­ment to have the rel­e­vant law passed in the com­ing win­ter ses­sion of Par­lia­ment. The gov­ern­ment had in­formed the court eight months ago that a new law was in the off­ing but noth­ing had been done so far, they noted.

The Bench also di­rected the Cen­tre to file a sta­tus re­port within four weeks de­tail­ing the steps be­ing taken to pre­vent adul­ter­ation. The Bench noted that re­ports sub­mit­ted by var­i­ous agen­cies clearly showed that syn­thetic milk and milk prod­ucts con­tin­ued to be sold in the mar­ket. Such milk con­tained urea, starch, glu­cose/sugar, caus­tic soda, re­fined white paint, pa­per pulp, de­ter­gent and other such chem­i­cals, putting at risk the health of the en­tire pop­u­la­tion. The char­ac­ter­is­tic white colour of the milk was be­ing achieved by adding white paint while re­fined oil was used as a sub­sti­tute for milk fat.

Reusing cook­ing oil is a source of trans-fatty acids, a new study warns

As per a study con­ducted jointly by Na­tional Di­a­betes, Obe­sity and Choles­terol (N-DOC) Foun­da­tion, IIT-Delhi and Di­a­betes Foun­da­tion of In­dia (DFI), re­use of oil in home-cooked food forms a heavy dose of trans-fatty acids (TFA).

A ran­dom sam­ple survey of 402 women – in the age group of 25 years to 60 years across Delhi – was con­ducted by a team of re­searchers to mon­i­tor the pat­tern of us­age of oil while cook­ing.

Be­sides high­light­ing the harm­ful ef­fects of TFA, the study has also raised some se­ri­ous con­cern over the cook­ing prac­tice in many house­holds.

Nearly 43.3 per cent of the women re­use the fat/oil (used for fry­ing) at least two to three times for cook­ing. Not just this, 54 per cent of the women left the used oil after fry­ing in the same uten­sil in which the fry­ing was done, and only about 6 per cent of women drain off the used oil be­fore stor­ing.

“We found that when we keep re­fry­ing the oil, the oil de­vel­oped TFA which kept in­creas­ing each time the oil was reused,” said Dr Swati Bhard­waj, se­nior re­search of­fi­cer, DFI. Ad­mit­ting that many house­hold can­not af­ford to throw away oil that has been used once, Dr Bhard­waj rec­om­mend that ei­ther the oil used for fry­ing should be very lit­tle or it should be used to pre­pare vegetables.

“The knowl­edge re­gard­ing TFA was neg­li­gi­ble among the sam­ple women. The cook­ing and fry­ing prac­tices were also found to be rather poor in the study. Aware­ness about TFA, right choice of cook­ing oil and avoid­ance of heat­ing and fry­ing should be known to ev­ery­one, es­pe­cially the home­mak­ers,” Dr Bharad­waj fur­ther in­formed.

Ex­perts say TFAs can lead to hyper­ten­sion, can­cer, liver dys­func­tion, in­fer­til­ity, asthma, prob­lems in preg­nancy and brain func­tional de­cline. “The di­etary in­take of TFA is still not un­der­stood in our coun­try. Many of us be­lieve that only home-cooked food is safe and healthy, but if we go by the cook­ing pat­tern, we are at dou­ble loss,” said Dr Anoop Mishra, chair­man, N-DOC. Chil­dren of 10 years and above are prone to fall prey to dis­eases like di­a­betes and obe­sity. “If we will im­prove the eat­ing habits in early age, then chances to get di­ag­nosed with such dis­eases will be lesser,” said Dr Mishra.

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