Dangerous oxytocin-injected milk are on Bengal drug controller’s radar

Kolkata: West Bengal’s drug controller has sounded an alarm on the indiscriminate use of pregnancy hormone oxytocin in dairying, which could lead to major hormonal imbalance in humans, an official said on Thursday.

“Oxytocin is a hormone used in inducing labour in pregnant women. It’s being used in dairying. Injecting the hormone into cattle gives additional quantity of milk. But the oxytocin-injected milk is consumed by humans and has health implications such as prostate cancer,” C.M. Ghosh, director of the state directorate of drug control (DDC), told the media here.

In a recent raid, the DDC and central regulatory bodies seized a consignment of 1.5 kg of oxytocin valued at Rs.1 crore from a dealer in Kolkata.

“Misuse of the banned drug is rampant across India. It enters the country through China and is being smuggled across the border via air travel,” Ghosh said.

Injecting oxytocin causes the milk, which is stored in the udder of the cattle for its calves, to be released, thereby giving a few additional litres.

India banned the schedule H drug, oxytocin, under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and section 12 of the Food and Drug Adulteration Prevention Act, 1960.

But the low-price alternative method in milking is becoming an major concern for the drug controller.

“We are keeping tabs on the dairy farms to prevent misuse of the hormone,” he said.