The Kerala High Court on Monday criticised the Kerala Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd (Milma) for not removing the declaration “pure and fresh” from its packets. It also asked Milma to inform the court by next week whether it would remove its declaration.
A Division Bench comprising Justice S Siri Jagan and Justice K Ramakrishnan issued the directive, while hearing a plea filed by Martin Paiva against a single judge’s verdict allowing Milma to hike milk prices. The Court had earlier observed that the court would prohibit it from converting milk powder into milk and selling the same as fresh milk. The petitioner pointed out that Milma is using milk powder in the milk and selling it as saying ‘pure and fresh’.
Milma submitted that National Dairy Development Board is the owner of the mark ‘fresh and pure’ and that was the same is used in all milk federations in India. It also requested the court to accept the plea as otherwise Milma will be put to irreparable loss.
The description ‘fresh and pure’ on its milk pouches was part of mnemonic symbol owned by the NDDB. The terms have been in use on milk packs of cooperative dairies only to convey in a generic manner the quality attributes of the processed milk. The word ‘fresh’ was intended to convey that the processed and packed milk is reaching the consumer from the production facility within minimum possible time
Simultaneously, the word ‘pure’ was intended to convey that the milk was free from any extraneous matter including adulterants, Milma pointed out.The Court further observed that, if it did not remove the imprint and instead added the sentence that it had added skimmed milk power in its milk, the court would make a declaration that Milma was defrauding consumers.
Milma, in an affidavit, had pointed out that unless skimmed milk powder was added, one would not be able to produce toned/double tones milk within the standard prescribed in Food Safety Standard regulations as the milk produced by the crossbred cows in the state contained a lower SNF (Solid Not Fat) content.
'Milk powder added to Milma milk'
P T Gopala Kurup, Milma chairman, told Express that “Fresh and Pure” is part of the mnemonic symbol used by Milma. “According to the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, toned milk should contain 3% fat and 8.5% SNF (Solid Not Fat). The SNF content in the milk produced by most of the Indian cows are 8.2. Selling milk with this content is a criminal act.
‘‘So to increase the SNF content, we are adding a small quality of milk powder under proper monitoring”, he said.