A nationwide survey on milk quality and safety conducted by the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) found 92% of loose milk samples to be non-compliant with quality and safety parameters. Moreover, 54% of milk samples were found unfit for human consumption.

An event was held on Tuesday at a local hotel to disseminate the results, and the press was invited to cover the event.Five quality and safety parameters were tested for compliance with regulatory limits. These included composition, adulteration, antibiotic residues, aflatoxin M1, and heavy metals. Loose milk was largely found to be non-compliant with these parameters.There was no nationally representative data about the safety and quality of loose milk in Pakistan, and this national survey conducted by UVAS aimed to provide that. This national survey was conducted in 11 major cities of Pakistan by Nielsen, a top multinational research agency that designed its sampling plan to ensure the authenticity of results.A total of 1,206 loose milk samples were collected in the winter (n = 603) and summer seasons (n = 603).The detailed findings of this research report were presented in a special health seminar in Lahore by Associate Professor Dr. Azmat Ullah Khan from the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition (UVAS) and Principal Investigator of this project in the presence of UVAS Vice-Chancellor Prof. Dr. Nasim Ahmed.Vice-Chancellor, University of Education, Prof. Dr. Talat Naseer Pasha, also expressed his views on its importance on this occasion. The president of the Pakistan Medical Association, Prof. Dr. Ashraf Nizami, also attended the seminar.Speaking on the occasion, Prof. Dr. Nasim Ahmed said that UVAS was working closely with the livestock, poultry, dairy, meat, and food industries and playing its lead role as a think-tank to solve their issues by arranging stakeholder roundtable meetings and conducting problem-solving research.It is important to note that Pakistan is the fourth-largest milk-producing country in the world. Ninety-five percent of the milk consumed is loose milk, and it reaches the end consumer for immediate consumption through the informal multi-layered distribution system of middlemen (milkmen).This traditional loose milk supply chain system is unorganised and non-regulated, thus, the quality of milk is hardly maintained, which results in serious food safety issues at the consumer level.This informal, loose milk supply chain channel lacks proper transportation and storage facilities; consequently, the quality of milk is lost. Loose milk is highly perishable, susceptible to microbial growth and survival, and a vehicle for food-borne pathogens.In addition to microbial contamination, residues from antimicrobial drugs, pesticide residues, mycotoxins, heavy metals, and adulterants have also been found in loose milk that pose serious risks to public’s health. This situation demands immediate intervention by regulatory authorities and mass awareness of the consequences for consumer health and safety. This is a national issue and a reason for great concern.

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