MORE than two-thirds of Indian milk is contaminated with substances ranging from salt to detergent and may not be safe to drink.
That's according to a survey by an Indian government watchdog.
The survey across 33 states by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India found that 68.4 per cent of 1791 milk samples contained adulterants.
Among the substances found in milk were skimmed milk powder, fat, glucose and added water.
In urban India, 68.9 per cent of samples were found to be contaminated, compared with 31 per cent of samples in rural areas.
Only two states - Goa and Pondicherry - sold unadulterated milk, while all 250 samples from four eastern states were found to be contaminated with detergent.
Fat and non-edible solids were the top offenders nationwide, followed by skimmed milk powder. Detergent was found in 8.4 per cent of all samples.
Despite being the world's biggest milk producer, India is no stranger to adulterated milk.
"Addition of water not only reduces the nutritional value of milk but contaminated water may also pose health risks," the study said, adding that the presence of detergent "indicates lack of hygiene and sanitation in the milk handling."
In November 2008, six tribal children died and dozens were hospitalised after drinking milk provided to their school by a dairy in eastern India.
State officials blamed the deaths on adulterated milk.