A media release issued on Saturday by Prof ABM Faroque, immediate past director of Dhaka University’s Biomedical Research Centre, said the latest study found the antibiotics Oxytetracycline, Enrofloxacin, Ciprofloxacin and Levofloxacin in samples of milk that were tested
Nearly three weeks after a study found antibiotics, detergent, coliform, as well as other hazardous material and bacterial organisms in pasteurized and unpasteurized milk, fresh research has once again shown the presence of antibiotics in dairy products.
A media release issued on Saturday by Prof ABM Faroque, immediate past director of Dhaka University’s Biomedical Research Centre, said the latest study found the antibiotics Oxytetracycline, Enrofloxacin, Ciprofloxacin and Levofloxacin in samples of milk that were tested.
The laboratory tests were conducted last week, on seven samples of pasteurized milk from five different brands, and three samples of unpasteurized milk.
Three of the 10 samples contained all four antibiotics, while six had three antibiotics. The remaining sample had one of the antibiotics.
The seven samples of pasteurized milk products tested were from the Pran, Milk Vita, Igloo, Aarong, and Farm Fresh brands. Three of the samples were collected from Igloo: their pasteurized milk, chocolate milk and mango milk
Saturday’s media release said the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI) tests milk using a 15-year-old method. It recommended that the BSTI introduce at least two tests to detect antibiotics and detergent in milk, to make the tests more accurate.
On June 25, a study by the same researchers claimed that antibiotics, detergent, coliform bacteria and other forms of hazardous material were found in the pasteurized milk products of the same five popular brands.
The study, conducted by a group of teachers of Dhaka University’s Faculty of Pharmacy, also found edible oil, spice powders, fruit juice and ghee of several popular brands to be below BSTI standards of quality.
However, the BSTI on June 25 submitted a report to High Court, saying that it did not find traces of dangerous elements in 18 pasteurized milk samples of 14 brands — including Pran, Aarong, Milk Vita and Farm Fresh.
Reaction from BSTI, BSFA
Expressing his doubt over both the reports, BSTI Director (Certification Marks) SM Ishaque Ali said they were in the dark about the method and the lab that the researchers used for the study.
“I don’t know how he (Prof Faroque) discovered the antibiotics in milk. The findings are his personal matter,” he said.
When asked if the BSTI has the technology to detect antibiotics in milk, Ishaque replied in the negative.
“Even our standards wing does not have the technology to verify the presence of antibiotics in milk,” he added.
Mahbub Kabir Milon, member (law) of the Bangladesh Food Safety Authority, also voiced his suspicion over the research methodology and laboratory.
“We are keen to know what method was applied for the research, and where,” Milon said.
“Prof Faroque claimed to have found several antibiotics, but he did not mention their level,” he added.
Prof Faroque draws flak from milk producers, BSTI, ministry
Ishaque went on to say that Prof Faroque may not belong to Dhaka University.
“Following his recent activities, I doubt if he is really a Dhaka University teacher. He is possibly trying to defame the university through such research,” he said.
In the wake of the first study, the professor drew resentment from dairy milk producers and even the ministry concerned over the “flawed” methodology of the tests.
Early last week, Prof Faroque was served a legal notice on behalf of the Dairy Bangla Development Foundation, which accused him of deliberately publishing the report and circulating it in the media. The notice went on to say that the research team “acted in a perverted manner” by making the matter public.
The notice claimed Prof Faroque was working for a vested quarter that was trying to destroy the country’s diary industry.
At an inter-ministerial program on Tuesday, Fisheries and Livestock Ministry Additional Secretary Kazi Wasi Uddin warned of legal action against Prof Faroque for “violating research protocol.”
Wasi claimed that the research methodology that the professor used in the first report was incorrect, and the study was conducted in a flawed manner.
Wasi could not be reached for comment on the latest study on Saturday afternoon.
HC hearing on adulterated milk Sunday
The High Court bench of Justice Syed Refaat Ahmed and Justice MD Iqbal Kabir Liton will hold a hearing on the first report on Sunday.
The bench set the date on Thursday, two days after a BSTI lawyer failed to submit the report on the pasteurized milk from the Dhaka University Faculty of Pharmacy properly.