Mumbai police said on Tuesday that they had arrested and charged four men who are accused of selling milk mixed with sewage water in plastic packets scavenged from garbage bins.
The four vendors, arrested on Monday, are suspected of adulterating milk for the last six months and are accused of putting their customers' health at risk by selling it in a western suburb of the city.
"Cops caught four milk vendors red-handed selling milk packets mixed with sewage water to customers," the Mid Day
"They were playing with the lives of their customers, especially children. It is not just adulteration but a slow poison for consumers," a police officer told the newspaper from Vile Parle, where the men were caught.
They appeared before magistrates charged with several counts, including the sale of noxious food or drink, and were remanded in custody until May 31, Mumbai police spokesman Nisar Tamboli told Agence France Presse (AFP), confirming the Mid Day
Police, who seized 181 adulterated milk packets and 160 litres of adulterated milk from the vendors, are now investigating if the men were part of a larger racket.
They said one of the vendors' methods was to rummage through garbage bins and collect empty milk packets, which they would fill with 60 per cent milk and 40 per cent gutter water, before sealing the packet with a burning candle.
The raid comes after a meeting of dairy farmers this month called for strong legislation to curb the malpractice of adulterated milk being sold to consumers.
A study by a government watchdog published in January showed that more than two-thirds of milk in the country was contaminated with substances including salt, detergent, skimmed milk powder, fat, glucose and water.
The survey across 33 states by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India found that 68.4 per cent of 1791 milk samples contained adulterants.