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" Food or any other thing that is not wholesome and that has unpleasant consequences should not be used out of ignorance and carelessness".
Charaka Samhita [six BC]
Aim of this article is not at all to create any further dilemma in the mind of readers about an another issue named "Milk" but to mirror other aspect about the same that most of us are ignorant about Or we are aware but reluctant to pay attention out of being a slave to our own age old habits. Or, do I say, we are not allowed to pay attention by all those people who are product of today's so called modern "commercial world" who survive only upon vitamin-M [money].
Whatever may be the reason, it is worth paying a little attention to all other aspects "Today's milk" carries with it not only to give justice to issue that concern our health but also to the same issue that concerns millions of other lives around.
Since thousands of years milk and other dairy products have been consumed by us for them considered being a rich source of various nutrients such as proteins, calcium, vitamins, fat, minerals etc; it is considered as a "Complete Food" especially for Vegetarians and Kids.
Milk has always been a common cause of concern for all those mothers whose child refuses to have it. And anxieties in such cases are not a surprise because probably its necessity as "Prime Food" is deeply imbibed in our blood and genes by our ancestors, so much so that it has almost become a habit! I still have to listen to scolding from my mother if she happens to see me not having my milk in the mornings.
Since ancient times milk is valued a lot and so were the cows. Traditionally cows were raised as members of the family and revered as a mother because they gave milk. Calves were first given their share of milk. Female calves were raised as milk producers and male, to work in the fields. In return, they [cow/buffalo] received food, shelter and care from human. Thus, in this symbiotic relationship between human and cows, there was a balance. In the absence of refrigeration, milk did not have commercial value.
Today, the commercialization has created tremendous imbalance in this symbiosis. Today, the treatments a cow or a buffalo receive are far beyond the wildest of our wilder imaginations. Every single part of a cow – be it cow dung/urine/leather/bone is of commercial value. May be they are paying a high price for being the prime source of milk and also for us [human] being the most intelligent animal on the planet!
We will discuss this issue later in this article; let us first check out whether "today's Milk" still holds up those qualities for which it was highly valued by our ancestors.
Today's cow milk: "A product for "Health" or "Wealth"? :
Infected, pus mixed Today's commercial milk: In cow or a buffalo, milk is collected from their Udder. Continuous harsh milking by human and machines causes indurations and infection of the udder (mastitis) resulting in pus and bacteria that gets added to the milk. Amongst various bacteria, one, which stands prominent, is a Paratuberculosis bacterium; it causes Johne's disease in cattle and is believed to cause Crohn's disease in humans.
In India overcrowding and poor sanitary conditions contribute to widespread tuberculosis amongst cows in city dairies. Pasteurization does not kill the TB bacilli, which may be passed to the consumer.
Antibiotics in Today's milk: Dairy farmers try to control the mastitis with huge doses of antibiotics, which also end up in the milk. Children are particularly vulnerable; these antibiotics inhibit the development of the immune system, and cause antibiotic resistance. Despite the antibiotics every glass of milk contains an estimated 1 - 7 drops of pus!
Pesticides used on the feeds for the animals are concentrated in their milk and meat. The ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) researched milk for 7 years taking 50,000 samples from across India. They found large amounts of DDT, and HCH. Under the food adulteration act only 0.01 mg/kg of HCH is allowed. They found 5.7 mg/kg on an average! They also found arsenic, cadmium and lead. These cause kidney damage, heart disease, brain damage and cancer.
In India, milkmen dissolve urea or earthworms in the milk to prevent it from curdling since the trucks for transporting the milk are not refrigerated.
Also, for continuous flow of the milk, cows [and buffalos] are given hormones in high amount, which also ends up in milk.
The result: every glass of milk is a cocktail composed of 1 or more of the following - pus, antibiotics, pesticides, urea, and hormones!
Dairy cattle are now fed a fixed ration of feeds that they would not typically eat if given a choice. Not only this is inhumane, but one can imagine what kind of quality such milk must be having.
But, does this matter to any of those sellers who just want to make their wealth at the cost of consumer's health?