Beware milk in plastic packs could be harmful

Business Daily Kenya:  Milk packaged in plastic containers and bags poses serious health risks that can cause life threatening ailments suc...

Business Daily Kenya: 

Milk production. Photo/File

Milk packaged in plastic containers and bags poses serious health risks that can cause life threatening ailments such as cancer, Kenya Diary Board has warned. There is scientific evidence that when plastic materials get in contact milk, the reaction corrodes the packages producing chemicals that are a health hazard.

“Some chemical react with those in milk to produce substances that are harmful to consumers,” KDB Technical Services Manager, Dr Philip Cherono told People Daily.

The revelation comes even as the board warned contaminated milk could be finding its way into milk dispensers popularly known as ATMs that are gaining popularity across the country.

“Scientific studies that has found that milk contains a mixture of as many as 20 chemicals from painkillers, antibiotics, growth hormones or even feeds given to cows,” Cherono. He said exposure of heat and repeated washing of containers cause bisphenol A (BPA) in plastics to leach into milk.

Scientific findings show that BPA disrupts the normal functioning of hormones upsetting the body’s hormonal balance. “Research suggests that all plastics may filtrate chemicals if they are scratched or heated. Some of chemicals such as BPA, may cause cancer,” he said.

Plastic paper bag ban that comes into effect on August 31 will mitigate health risks but the problem won’t go away completely because milk dispensed through ATMs is ferried using plastics, and some processors package the commodity in such vessels.

Other sources of milk contamination is from substances ingested by cows grazing on dirt grounds especially near roads and industrial zones or farm chemicals.

According to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry milk contaminated could also contain traces of anti-inflammatory drugs — niflumic acid, mefenamic acid and ketoprofen – commonly used in painkillers for animals and human beings.

Cherono suggests that a regulation should be passed that will require milk processors to use carton-based packaging such as Tetra Pak. “If milk is heated at ultra high temperature and packed instantly then packed into carton-based packaging it is safe. Some times there is even no need for preservatives to be added ,” he said.

Among the proposals of Dairy Industry Regulations 2017 is that milk presented for sale should be protected from contamination. If the regulations are implemented to the letter, milk and dairy products hazards would be reduced and also improve nutritional benefits of milk.

“Hazards would be reduced by preventing contaminants and disease agents from getting access into milk,” Cherono said. Earlier, KDB had warned milk retailed through ATMs may not be safe due to unhygienic handling and are rarely pasteurised.

The post Beware milk in plastic packs could be harmful appeared first on Mediamax Network Limited.

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