Milk companies claim their products “melamine free”

Farhan Zaheer April 28, 2010

KARACHI: The Pakistan Dairy Association claimed on Wednesday that a leading food testing laboratory had given it the clean chit and that leading brands of packaged milk have been declared fit for human consumption.

Pakistan Dairy Association (PDA) Chairman Sarfaraz Rahman told The Express Tribune that a top food testing company, Eurofins, had removed the ambiguity that the milk contained melamine. “With the court’s permission, the PDA is sharing the Eurofins report with the media,” said Rahman, adding “The report supports the standards adopted by packed milk producers.” He said that consumers of packed milk were worried over the alleged use of melamine in local brands.

But now after the clearance from Eurofins, the ambiguity will be removed, he added. The Pakistan government had sent milk samples to Eurofins Global Control, a state-of-the-art laboratory in Hamburg, Germany, for conducting tests and determining whether they contained melamine, a toxic material used in plastics. Eurofins sent its report to the Lahore High Court on February 22, 2010 which says that all milk and milk products including those of Olper’s, MilkPak, Haleeb, Nurpur, Tarang, Everyday, Tea Max, Dairy Queen and Good Milk were ‘fit for human consumption’, the PDA said in a press release on Wednesday.

Replying to a question, he said the sales of packed milk were growing continuously, and whether these allegations have impacted on the sales would become apparent later. “We want standardisation in the milk industry. The government should set minimum standards for the industry to improve the quality of milk,” Rahman added. Before November 2009, media reports suggested the use of melamine in local brands of packed milk after a petition was filed in the Lahore High Court. The milk manufacturers were accused of adding melamine and other contaminants in their packaged milk products.

Rahman said that before sending the milk samples to Germany, numerous tests of all leading brands of the packaged milk were conducted by different laboratories in Lahore on the directions of the Lahore High Court. Later, all the reports confirmed that the milk and milk products tested are free from adulterants and were fit for human consumption. Eurofins Scientific is a life sciences company operating laboratories in 30 countries. The group specialises in delivering analytical testing and advisory services to clients from a wide range of industries including the pharmaceutical, food and environmental sectors.

Numerous media reports in the last six months said that melamine and other chemicals were mixed in local packed milk. Even the chairman of the Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) confirmed the use of melamine and submitted his report before the Lahore court. Melamine has high nitrogen content and is mainly used in plastic and foam products. Scientists say that melamine may cause kidney stones and can be fatal for animal and human life. Several months ago, the alleged use of melamine in food products in China, which resulted in some deaths, had invited the attention of media across the world.