After minister’s alarmist claims, Madras HC stops TN govt from testing private milk samples

Private dairies had approached the HC after Minister Rajenthra Bhalaji claimed that adulterated milk sold by private companies caused cancer in children.
 After minister’s alarmist claims, Madras HC stops TN govt from testing private milk samples
After minister’s alarmist claims, Madras HC stops TN govt from testing private milk samples
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The Madras High Court on Tuesday ordered an interim stay on the Tamil Nadu government testing milk and milk products of Vijay Dairy and Farm company and Hatsun Agro company.

Justice Duraisamy ordered Milk and Dairy Development Department and Minister Rajenthra Bhalaji to file a response within four weeks.

This comes after Vijay Dairy and Farm Products approached the court stating that the Department of Dairy Development does not have any right to test the milk and milk products of private companies. “Under the Food Safety and Standards Act, procedures are laid down for Food Safety Officers to draw samples of milk and milk products from all private dairies including the petitioner which undergo rigorous testing. Unless and until inadequacy is found no further action would be taken by the authorities and till date the petitioner’s products have passed such certification,” stated the petition filed before the HC.

The petition also said that Minister Rajenthra Bhalaji started a media campaign against private companies with bizarre and unsubstantiated statements. Moreover, the statement made by the minister about the samples of milk being drawn by various private manufacturers and sent to various laboratories was untrue, stated the petitioner.

On July 10, Madras High Court had ordered Tamil Nadu Dairy Development Minister KT Rajenthra Bhalaji not to make allegations against private companies without substantiation. This came after three private milk companies, Hatsun Agro Product Ltd, Dodla Dairy Ltd and Vijay Dairy, filed a civil case in the court.

They had also stated in the petition that his allegations had caused damage to their companies and demanded a compensation of Rs 1 crore each.

On May 24, 2017, Rajenthra Bhalaji had made serious allegations against the private milk companies claiming that they sell adulterated milk which was causing cancer in many children. The minister said, “Milk sold by private dealers is definitely adulterated. The milk that is banned in Kerala is being sold in Tamil Nadu according to my investigation.”

He also alleged that the companies were using preservatives and that the milk sold by state-run milk cooperative Aavin was safe for consumption. He further made an astounding declaration that private companies were "turning curd back into milk using chemicals.”

But the minister did not stop with these astounding claims. He also went on to allege that milk samples from private companies showed the presence of formaldehyde, a chemical which is used to preserve bodies from decaying. 

However, Bhalaji’s claims were busted after the Central Food Lab revealed that no toxic ingredients had been found in the milk samples sent by Tamil Nadu to the laboratory.

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