Dhaka University researchers have found the presence of antibiotics in pasteurised milk of seven mostly sold brands.
The study conducted by a group of teachers at the Faculty of Pharmacy has found edible oil, spice powders, fruit juice, and ghee of some brands substandard.
The DU research findings , however, contradict with Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI) claim that no traces of hazardous elements were found in 14 brands of pasteurized milks available in the market.
BSTI report was submitted to the High court on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, DU Biomedical Research Centre conducted the tests on samples of these products under the guidance of centre’s director and pharmaceutical technology teacher Professor ABM Faroque
While presenting the findings at the faculty on Tuesday. Professor ABM Faroque
Also a consumer rights activist , said the presence of antibiotics used to treat human beings in pasteurised milk is “very alarming”. Levofloxacin and ciprofloxacin were found in all seven of the pasteurised milk brands tested in the study. Azithromycin was also found in six of the brands, according to the study.
The seven milk brands surveyed in the research are Milkvita, Aarong, Farm Fresh, Pran, Igloo, Igloo Chocolate, and Igloo Mango.
The researchers also found fat and non-fat substances below the standard levels while the total bacteria count was more than the expected level in all the pasteurised samples.
Three of the seven brands of pasteurised milk and one of the three non-pasteurised milk were found containing detergent.
According to the researchers, adulterated food products were affecting three groups of people mostly – children, pregnant women and foetus, and the elderly,
“We often say that antibiotics are not working. The reason is that the antibiotics are already in our bodies,” he added.
BRAC Dairy and Food Enterprise, which produces Aarong milk, claimed in a statement that all of its products are tested by BSTI and Bangladesh Food Safety Authority.
The company said it regularly sends samples of its products to the two agencies for tests and preserve the results for taking specific measures.
“No inconsistency or fail have been found in the reports on the tests in past one year,” BRAC Dairy said.
The DU study also found fruit juice, ghee, edible oil, and spice powders of different brands failed in tests of BSTI-set condition.
Banned artificial sweetener cyclamate was found in all 11 fruit drinks tested in the study.
Cyclamate is considered “very harmful”, the study said.
Coliform was found in three of the products which indicates these may contain disease-causing organisms or pathogens.
The study named the fruit juice brands tested but did not specify which were found substandard.
Sesame oil was found in ghee of eight brands in violation of BSTI standards.
Water and iodine were also found to be more than the expected levels, according to the researchers.
The eight are Aarong, Baghabari, Pran, Milkvita, Milkman, Somir, and two without any name.
BSTI report to HC
No traces of hazardous elements were found in 14 brands of pasteurized milks available in the market, said Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI) in its report submitted to the High court on Tuesday.
BSTI submitted the report to a High Court bench consisted of justices Syed Refaat Ahmed and Md Iqbal Kabir during a hearing.
The 14 brands of pasteurized milks are Pura, Iron, Aarong Dairy, Farm Fresh Milk, Mo, Milk Vita, Aftab, Ultra, Tania (200ml and 500ml), Igloo, Pran Milk, Dairy Fresh, Milk Fresh and Cowhead Pure Milk.
During the hearing writ petitioner lawyer Tanvir Ahmed was present at court while deputy attorney general Kazi Zinat Haq represented the state.
The court set Jun 27 for next hearing on the petition.
On May 20, 2018, lawyer Tanvir filed a writ petition following a HC order after media reports on unsafe pasteurized milks were brought into its attention.
Later, the HC ordered food ministry to form an expert panel to run the test on all pasteurized milks brands and file a report to it.