Gujarat Global News Network, Ahmedabad
Beware of consuming loose Shrikhand available at local sweet shops. A study shows that they have high level of contamination. More than dozen samples of loose Shrikhand failed to comply with the Yeast and Mould Count limits. In fact, while the limit was 50/gm, the most contaminated sample had a count of 43,050/gm!
The Consumer Education and Research Centre (CERC), Ahmedabad, which carried out the survey, recently released its test findings on loose shrikhand. Loose shrikhand is prepared on a small scale by local sweet makers (halwais) using different techniques. As a result, there is wide variation in quality and taste. CERC also tested one sample of branded shrikhand, Amul, for comparison.
The samples were tested for two microbiological parameters as specified by IS standards – Coliform Count and Yeast and Mould Count (indicative of deterioration and decomposition). The results were alarming. All the samples of loose shrikhand failed to comply with the Yeast and Mould Count limits.
The primary sources of microbial contamination of shrikhand include water and raw milk, whereas secondary sources include flavoring agents, dirty utensils and unhygienic handling. CERC tested samples from Vipul Dudhiya sweets(Maninagar), Shreeji Dairy Parlour(Vatva), New Kirti Dairy( Bapunagar), Ashish Dairy(Meghaninagar), Shree Harsiddh Dairy Parlour(Chandlodiya), Patel Dugdhalay(Usmanpura), Shree Milk Dairy (Vastrapur), Pinky Dairy (Hatkeshwar),Dudhsagar(Saraspur) and Gopi Kantilal Manilal (Navrangpura). All failed to comply with the tests.
The bacteria found is indicative of possible faecal contamination which can cause diseases. While both yeasts and moulds cause various degrees of deterioration and decomposition of foods. Dairy products with a low pH value such as yogurt (such as shrikhand) are at a high risk of being spoilt by yeasts. Some moulds produce mycotoxins that can pose serious health risks to humans. Other problems include allergic reactions and respiratory problems.
The branded sample complied with both the microbiological parameters. People perceive branded products to be more expensive than loose ones. However, in this case five of the loose samples were more expensive than the branded product. The most expensive loose sample, from Gopi Kantilal Manilal, was Rs. 36 more expensive than Amul for 400 gm.
For news in Hindi see our Hindi daily Chaupal Chronicle