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Safety Pre­cau­tions for Milk and Dairy Prod­ucts

Milk is a key part of a healthy diet, loaded as it is with many es­sen­tial nu­tri­ents that aid in the growth and de­vel­op­ment of chil­dren and help to main­tain bone strength in adults. The rec­om­mended amount of milk and dairy prod­ucts as men­tioned in di­etary guide­lines for In­di­ans (In­dian Coun­cil of Med­i­cal Re­search – ICMR) is 200 ml to 300 ml per day. Milk is an ex­cel­lent source of vi­ta­min B, cal­cium, and pro­tein of high bi­o­log­i­cal value. At the same time, be­cause milk is rich in all three macronu­tri­ents – namely pro­tein, fat, and car­bo­hy­drate – it is more sus­cep­ti­ble to spoilage com­pared to many other food items. Milk and dairy prod­ucts, if not han­dled well, can lead to a va­ri­ety of health dis­or­ders. Let us have a look at some health con­cerns as­so­ci­ated with th­ese.

For one, milk from cat­tle that has not been pas­teur­ized or boiled can be harm­ful as it may be car­ry­ing bac­te­ria such as Sal­mo­nella, E. coli, and Lis­te­ria. Th­ese can cause food-borne ill­nesses that have se­vere im­pli­ca­tions on health.

An­tibi­otics and Hor­mones in Milk

It has been found that con­sump­tion of dairy prod­ucts con­tain­ing high lev­els of in­sulin-like growth fac­tor 1, or IGF-1, in­creases the risk of colon and breast can­cer. A diet rich in dairy prod­ucts must also

When cat­tle fall sick, they are ad­min­is­tered an­tibi­otics to over­come the ill­ness. If such cat­tle are milked, the an­tibi­otics are passed on to the hu­man be­ings con­sum­ing the milk, in turn mak­ing them re­sis­tant to­wards an­tibi­otics – so, when they con­front an in­fec­tion, a stronger dose of an­tibi­otics is ad­min­is­tered to them. To avoid in­fec­tions, one must strengthen their im­mune sys­tem by con­sum­ing foods rich in an­tiox­i­dants, omega-3 fatty acids, and pro­tein.

Milk–Drug In­ter­ac­tion

Cer­tain food prod­ucts in­ter­fere with the me­tab­o­lism of some drugs. It is ad­vis­able to avoid dairy prod­ucts such as milk, cheese, yo­gurt, ice cream, and but­ter milk one hour be­fore and two hours af­ter the ad­min­is­tra­tion of th­ese drugs: aspirin, cele­coxib, di­clofenac, ibupro­fen, ke­to­pro­fen, naproxen, doxy­cy­cline, minocy­cline, tetra­cy­cline, and line­zolid.

Lac­tose In­tol­er­ance

Ever ex­pe­ri­enced bloat­ing, di­ar­rhoea, loose stools, acid­ity, pain or cramps in the lower belly, flat­u­lence, nau­sea, or vom­it­ing af­ter con­sump­tion of milk and other dairy prod­ucts? You might be af­flicted with this pe­cu­liar con­di­tion called lac­tose in­tol­er­ance, which is the in­abil­ity to di­gest lac­tose, a sugar found in milk and milk prod­ucts. Chil­dren as well as adults may have this in­tol­er­ance, pri­mar­ily caused due to de­fi­ciency of lac­tate en­zyme.

There are dif­fer­ent de­grees of lac­tose in­tol­er­ance de­pend­ing upon the lac­tase se­cre­tion in hu­man be­ings. Some in­di­vid­u­als may be able to tol­er­ate 150 ml–200 ml of milk in a day but de­velop symp­toms af­ter con­sum­ing more amounts of milk or dairy prod­ucts; some can tol­er­ate small por­tions of dairy through­out the day with a gap of four to five hours. It is rec­om­mended that fer­mented dairy prod­ucts be con­sumed as they are tol­er­ated well. Of course, one needs to find their own tol­er­ance level to­wards dairy prod­ucts. It’s im­por­tant to note that lac­tose in­tol­er­ance is dif­fer­ent than milk al­lergy.

Lac­tose in­tol­er­ance should not be con­fused with milk al­lergy — the terms may sound sim­i­lar but they ac­tu­ally de­scribe two dif­fer­ent di­ges­tive prob­lems. Also, one is more se­vere than the other. Lac­tose in­tol­er­ance is caused by not hav­ing enough of the en­zyme lac­tase, which is needed to break down lac­tose, the sugar found in milk and other dairy prod­ucts. Milk al­lergy is a true food al­lergy caused by an al­ler­gic re­ac­tion to the pro­tein in milk. Milk al­ler­gies in­volve im­muno­log­i­cal re­ac­tions, while lac­tose in­tol­er­ance in­volves di­ges­tive fac­tors. Milk al­ler­gies and lac­tose in­tol­er­ance are there­fore not sim­i­lar con­di­tions and should be treated dif­fer­ently.

Adults and chil­dren with milk al­lergy must elim­i­nate milk prod­ucts from their di­ets while mak­ing sure they get all of the nu­tri­ents found in milk through other foods or sup­ple­men­ta­tion. It may be noted that milk al­ler­gies are rare in adults.

Fer­mented ver­sus Non-Fer­mented Dairy Prod­ucts

Fer­mented milk prod­ucts are the dairy foods that have been fer­mented with lac­tic acid bac­te­ria

such as Lac­to­bacil­lus, Lac­to­coc­cus, and Leu­conos­toc. Fer­men­ta­tion not only in­creases the shelf life of the prod­uct but also en­hances the di­gestibil­ity of milk. It is im­por­tant to note that fer­men­ta­tion of milk can re­duce the lev­els of hor­mones such as IGF-1.

Dairy prod­ucts are of­ten as­so­ci­ated with acne. The ten­dency to de­velop acne is found more in in­di­vid­u­als who con­sume non-fer­mented dairy prod­ucts than those who con­sume fer­mented dairy prod­ucts.

Buy­ing, Han­dling, and Stor­ing

Fact is, milk is sus­cep­ti­ble to mi­cro­bial spoilage. An­other thing to be wary of is that lo­cal sup­pli­ers of milk and dairy prod­ucts may add cer­tain adul­ter­ants in the milk and sell them to con­sumers.

A co­op­er­a­tive that sells milk en­sures the qual­ity of milk be­fore buy­ing it and is equipped with trans­port and pro­cess­ing aids that pre­vent milk spoilage. Once the milk is pas­teurised and packed, it is trans­ported to re­tail­ers. Spoilage of milk and dairy prod­ucts is de­pen­dent also on how milk is han­dled by re­tail­ers and buy­ers at their end. Milk and milk prod­ucts must be stored at a tem­per­a­ture be­tween 0 de­grees C and 4 de­grees C and must be kept in re­frig­er­a­tor shelves rather than the re­frig­er­a­tor doors. It is ad­vis­able to wash the milk pack­ets when they are de­liv­ered by the retail ven­dors and then re­frig­er­ate them or boil them at the time. It is manda­tory to check the ‘best be­fore’ date be­fore buy­ing milk and dairy prod­ucts – prefer­ably it should be the one with the fur­thest date. When shop­ping at a su­per­mar­ket, try to make the milk and dairy prod­ucts the last items to be picked up. Re­frig­er­ate them as soon as pos­si­ble af­ter pur­chase. If you are a fre­quent user of Te­tra Pak milk or any other dairy prod­uct that has a long shelf life, use that prod­uct which was bought first. Dairy prod­ucts have a ten­dency to pick up odours and hence they must be stored in an air­tight con­tainer once they are opened. Cer­tain vi­ta­mins in milk and dairy prod­ucts are pho­to­la­bile – that is, they are de­stroyed when ex­posed to light – and so dairy prod­ucts must be stored in con­tain­ers to con­serve their nu­tri­tional con­tent.

be rich in veg­eta­bles and fruits since th­ese re­duce the risk of de­vel­op­ment of can­cer.

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