How to detect Synthetic Milk from Genuine Milk?

How to detect Synthetic Milk from Genuine Milk?

As the name suggests, synthetic milk is not milk but it is entirely a different component with a high degree of adulteration to increase the volume of milk and thereby the profit. Generally it is a mixture of water, pulverized detergent or soap, sodium hydroxide, vegetable oil, salt and urea.

The simplicity and rapidity with which milk can be adulterated always tempted the unscrupulous milk vendors to indulge in fraudulent practices and adulterate the milk. The ever-rising greed has given way to the development of a new type of adulterated milk known as synthetic milk.

Similar to genuine milk production, the practice of preparing the synthetic milk too starts at the village level. The places notorious for the production of synthetic milk include parts of Rajasthan, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh in India. Slowly but steadily the practice is spreading to other parts of India.

How synthetic milk is produced?

Vegetable refined oil (any brand) whose butyrorefractometer reading is less than 42 is taken in a wide mouthed container along with a suitable emulsifier and thoroughly mixed so that the entire content is made in to a thick white paste. After this is achieved, water is slowly added to the paste until the density of the liquid is similar to that of milk. Then it is added with urea or sodium sulphate or glucose or maltose or sometimes any one of the commonly available fertilizers is added. These substances are usually dissolved in hot water and then added to the seemingly milk like solution.

The refined oil in synthetic milk acts as a source of fat where as the hot solution of any one of the substances above mentioned acts as a source of solids not fat (SNF). The ingredients that go in to the making of synthetic milk are calculated in such a way that the fat and SNF percentage is similar to mixed milk. Hence it easily passes the platform tests carried out at the village level dairy co-operative society (fat and lactometer reading etc.) but from the health point of view of the consumers, it is highly dangerous. The taste is highly objectionable.

Comparison between genuine and synthetic milk

Differentiating testsGenuine MilkSynthetic Milk
Physical tests
StorageOn storage, it remains whiteIt turns pale yellow after some time
TextureWhen rubbed on the palm, it doesn’t form foamWhen rubbed on the palm, foam formation noticed.
pH6.6 to 6.810 – 11 (Highly alkaline)
Fat4.5 – 5.0%4.5 – 5.0%
Solids Not Fat8 – 9%8 – 9%
Chemical tests
HeatNo change in colour on heatingIt turns yellow on boiling
Urea testPale yellow colour developsDark yellow colour develops

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