Analyses of Selected Heavy Metals and Aflotoxin M1 in Milk for Human Consumption in Jhang City, Pakistan

Traditional milk shops PSSP Working Paper 012 “Analyses of Selected Heavy Metals and Aflatoxin M1 in Milk for Human Consumption in Jhang City, Pakistan" investigates chemical contaminants in milk which affect public health and can constrain exports under sanitary and phyto-sanitary agreements. To investigate this, a screening survey was conducted during 2012-2013 to determine concentrations of Copper, Lead, Cadmium, Chromium, and Aflatoxin M1 in unprocessed, non-branded liquid milk available at conventional milk shops in Jhang city of Punjab and, for comparison, from small farms located near wastewater drains in peri-urban areas of the city. Findings show median concentrations of heavy metals being significantly higher than the standards of the International Dairy Federation and levels in a very high percentage of the samples exceeded these standards, however, there was no permissible level available for Chromium to make a comparable analysis. The AFM1 levels in 17% of samples were higher than the maximum tolerance limit set by the United States. The authors argue that these findings warrant continuous monitoring of those contaminants and a policy for their control. The levels of AFM1 in samples indicate that feed for animals was contaminated with aflatoxin B1- the precursor of AFM1 and they recommend surveillance of aflatoxin B1 in commercial concentrate feeds and industrial waste management. More generally, the sampling methodology adopted in this study can be a template for executing similar surveys is urban areas of developing countries (and informal markets) where a sampling frame of shops is not available.