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The Assembly on Monday passed a Bill to regulate the transactions at the milk procurement centres, enforce safety standards for the produce and protect interests of dairy farmers and the consumers.

Minister for Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development and Fisheries Seediri Appalaraju moved the Bill titled A.P. Milk Procurement (Protection of Farmers) and Enforcement of Safety of Milk Standards Bill, (APMPESMS) 2023.

In a first in Andhra Pradesh, the Bill has defined the adulteration of milk. According to it, ‘Adulterant’ means any material which is or can be employed for making milk unsafe or substandard or mis-branded or containing extraneous matter. This Bill mandates a licence for the use of milk analysers. Section 12 of the Bill says, “No person shall use milk analyser for procurement of milk unless he obtains a licence from the authorized officer in such manner and on payment of such fees, as may be prescribed. An online platform will be made available for issuing of licence and other procedures of this Act through software application.”

This Bill has also introduced penalties and imprisonments for violations of the law.

Livestock farming contributes to 10.72% of the GSDP. The government opines that farmers are not paid ‘fair price’ at the procurement centres due to unfair practices.

At present, officials of Animal Husbandry Department, along with their Legal Metrology counterparts, are conducting raids to protect the dairy farmers’ interests.

In a bid to check adulteration of milk and milk products and manipulation of testing equipment, the government decided to enforce an Act to bring all the rules under one umbrella for effective enforcement of law and delegate power to seize milk analysers in case of violations.

“Procurement centres are using milk analysers, but use of this equipment is unregulated. To report quality parameters such as fat, Solid Not Fat (SNF) and added water content, these analysers need to be regulated. So, there is a need for licensing of milk analysers and registration of milk procurement centres,” the Minister said.

Source : The Hindu March 21st 2023

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