Khyber Milk Discredited, What About Other Brands?


Srinagar: Khyber Agro Farms Pvt Ltd, largest dairy producer in the state, has been stripped naked and the secret to its so called ‘safaedi’ revealed. While people are busy discussing Khyber, it is time other local and non-local brands selling milk and other dairy products in Kashmir markets are also put under scanner. 

“Our team has collected 20 samples of different brands of dairy products in Srinagar and Pulwama district which will be tested within a period of 14 days and the report will be made public. The testing of samples will be done in the whole state and we will accordingly report to the concerned agencies,” Deputy Commissioner Food and Drug Control Ms. Irfana told Kashmir Observer.

Numerous brands like Snow Cap, Zum Zum, Haleeb, V-fresh, Pure’de, Surya milk, Dodla milk, Milan dairy are sold in Kashmir markets.

Following reports of adulteration by a renowned and ‘trustworthy’ brand like Khyber became public, suspicions about the quality of other lesser known brands have risen. This is an open secret that companies falling under Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) category are suspect in Kashmir for selling adulterated and substandard food items, yet their produce is sold as there are very few choices (Especially dairy and spices) available in the market for the consumer.

They have been feeding poison to the people of the valley for a long time now with the so called guardians of public health hand in glove with them.

Dairy business was monopoly of the state till recently. In the late sixties, the government of Jammu and Kashmir directed Animal Husbandry Department to establish a dairy farm in both Jammu and Kashmir. In this connection, exotic cattle farms were established in both the regions. First milk plant in the state, named as Milk Supply Scheme, was constructed in 1959. In 1970, another milk plant came into existence in Jammu. Both were under the control of Animal Husbandry department of the state. In 1970’s, a proposal for the launch of Operation Flood in the state was submitted to the National Dairy Development Board through Indian Dairy Corporation. In 1983, cabinet took the decision to convert the Milk Supply Scheme to Kashmir Valley Milk Producer’s Cooperative Federation and Jammu Milk Cooperative Federation. Both these federations were unable to sustain the regular operations of procurement and processing and as such were liquidated in 2004.

As private dairy farms established their presence in the state, the milk production increased considerably in a span of 10-15 years. New Brands like Snow Cap and Zum Zum dairy productions began competing with Khyber agro farms and slowly milk production in Kashmir became a full-fledged industry. Over the years, the governing agencies stopped testing the samples of these dairy companies partly because of laziness but mostly because of the bribes these companies paid the officials. Since the issue has come to limelight now, the authorities have started a blame game in order to prove themselves as worthy public servants.

“Every product should be tested as we don’t trust any of these so called pure brands of Kashmir. Khyber is not only used in all our households but also during marriages and other functions. Authorities are acting as mute spectators. Despite this grave issue, they have not removed Khyber products from the market,” said Anees Mushtaq, a consumer. 

Even after a week of the shocking revelations, the unsafe milk still continues to be sold in the valley markets openly. As per the local grocers, nearly 50-60 packets of Khyber milk and around 20-30 containers of Khyber Dahi are sold per day. “We have a lot of stock left as this brand of milk is very popular in Kashmir”,  said Gulzar Ahmad a shop owner in Soura.

Health Officer SMC, Dr. Shamima said, “We have warned the shopkeepers to clear out any stock of the said product as some people are unaware about the issue. We have checked various markets today and have strictly warned grocers to stop selling the adulterated milk. We have issued warning on selling other brands as well till these are tested and verified by the Food and Drug Control officers.”

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