QUALITY CONTROL ACTIVITIES UNDERTAKEN BY THE DEPARTMENT
1.Market Milk Sample Evaluation through Quality Control Offices
Department has got Quality Control Offices in all 14 districts. Market milk samples are taken from market at random in all districts and the quality is evaluated. Every month 25 different market samples are collected and tested and the report is furnished to the food safety authority on a monthly basis.
2.Intensive Festival Drive Programme for controlling quality of milk
During festival seasons, especially during Onam, the demand for milk in the state increases and lot of milk reaches the state from neighbouring states. Unscrupulous traders take this as an opportunity to make huge profit by supplying inferior quality and adulterated milk. This is a major threat to public health, as many of the chemicals added to milk as adulterants or preservatives are hazardous in nature. In order to prevent such practices, department is conducting special quality testing drives throughout the state during festival season. Milk Quality Information Centres are also set up in all district headquarters where the quality of all brands of milk marketed is tested. Facilities are provided for daily testing samples of milk brought by public and providing results then and there. If substandard or poor quality milk is found, then, food safety authorities are informed by department officials for taking appropriate legal action.
3.Milk Testing facilities provided at Check Posts
To prevent the entry of adulterated and low quality milk into the state during festival seasons, special camps with laboratory facilities are set up at the five major check posts (Walayar, Meenakshipuram, Kumili, Aryankavu and Parasala) of the state through which majority of the milk flows into the state. The samples from vehicles are taken and those found adulterated or of low quality are denied entry into the state and reported to food safety authorities for further necessary legal action. Permanent milk testing facility has been set up in Meenakshipuram and Aryankavu Checkposts. Department is also planning to set up permanent milk testing facility in other major checkposts also
4.Intensive Milk Quality Improvement cum Awareness
The quality of milk produced at farm level, procured at DCS level, handled, processed and marketed is also an area of concern in our state. With a broad mission, the Department of Dairy Development as a part of 2nd Anniversary of the Kerala Government has implemented a MILK QUALITY IMPROVEMENT CUM AWARENSS DRIVE during the period from 01.06.2018 to 31.08.2018. Strategic measures and interventions for improving the quality (sensory, physico-chemical and microbiological) of farm level milk, quality control activities at collection and handling points, hygiene measures at processing centres, cold chain maintenance from farm to fork, etc were given stress as a part of this drive. The following objectives were successfully achieved during the drive:
•A general awareness was created at the production level and public level regarding the importance of clean, fresh and safe milk.
•The sensory, physico-chemical and microbial quality of milk poured by farmers in the Dairy Co-operatives was improved.
•The total solids percentage of milk poured in societies could be improved and thus better price was assured for farmers.
5.Consumer Interface Programmes
Consumer Interface Programme is an important programme organized once in a year in each district by the department as a special drive during Onam season or other festival seasons to create awareness among the consumers about the quality of milk and possible adulterants and precautions to be taken to avoid health hazards. Samples of milk brought by the consumers or general public will be tested free of cost and result made available to them. It is conducted by the Quality Control Officer of the respective district.
6.Quality Awareness Programmes, Special Quality Awareness Programmes and Farm House Visits
Quality Awareness programs are ongoing programmes of the department organized with the help of Dairy Co-operatives, NGOs and other farmer groups to create awareness among the milk producers in maintaining the quality of milk and milk products produced and marketed in the state. It helps the farmers to get better price and in maintaining good quality of milk pooled at the society level.
The Specialised Quality Awareness Programmes are conducted this year as part of intensive quality drive as a DCS oriented programme especially in those DCS where the milk procurement is on higher side and the number of milk collection points are more.The farmer are made aware of the potential sources of contamination, its hazards, quality factors, hygienic practices, FSSA standards, practices for quality improvement etc. through the awareness programmes. The SQAP provides an opportunity to the farmers to become familiarized with the FSSA requirements. The officers of the department also conduct farm house visits to ensure the quality of milk produced in farms.
7.State Dairy Laboratory and Regional Laboratories
State Dairy laboratory is the state of the art laboratory established by the department to assure the quality of milk and milk products being consumed in our state. The concept of creation of state Dairy Laboratory was to set up a laboratory exclusively for milk and milk in the state. SDL has facilities to analyse various microbiological and chemical analysis of milk and milk products, water and cattle feed. SDL is equipped with HPLC, GC, UV spectrophotometer etc to conduct various chemical analysis of Milk, Milk products, water and cattle feed. SDL is carrying out chemical and microbiological analysis of the market milk and cattle feed samples that are send by the quality control officers all districts. SDL is also testing cattle feed samples provided from outside agencies at a cost. SDL has got ISO 9001:2008 Certification for the scope Chemical and microbiological analysis of milk, milk products, Water and cattle feed in September 2015 and is NABL accredited. SDL is the only one kind of facility which can provide this kind of testing in dairy sector. SDL is equipped to analyse more than 100 paramaters for ensuring the quality of Milk, Milk Products, Water and Cattle Feed. Regional Laboratories are also established in Kottayam, Kasargod and Palakkad districts for the same purpose and the regional laboratories have just started functioning.