By Maneka Gandhi for The Bihar Times  on 18 Jul 2009
(Bihar, India) Some years ago it was discovered that owners of Vanaspathi
oils were putting cow and pig lard into the oil. There was a furor which
died down after a few months and no one knows till today what happened to
the Jains who owned the enterprise – but I have little doubt that they got
off and a few bureaucrats and policemen are richer.
Ghee (from Sanskrit gh•ta meaning "sprinkled") is clarified butter, sacred
to the gods. On June 13, a ghee manufacturing unit was raided by the health
officers and police of Agra . Hundreds of tins of ghee were found in the
Jharna nullah locality . The so called ghee was being manufactured from
animal fat boiled in huge iron pans. "25 big drums, 150 tins and four
furnaces, knives and country pistols were recovered from the site" a police
official said. "Animal hides of cows, monkeys, donkeys, horses and dogs
hanging by the trees and bones littered showed the scale of manufacturing
being carried out clandestinely for years."
Now comes the standard Indian part – "Police said at least 50 people must
have been working there in the sheds but none could be caught, probably
because the information about the raid was leaked to them."
Agra Municipal corporation’s animal husbandry department Chief B.S. Verma
said that residents of the locality had complained for years about the
spurious manufacturing unit but the department could not find the unit.
TV channels aired footage filmed at ghee manufacturing plants. The footage
confirmed that across India animals were being rendered and their fat added
to ghee. The ghee plants had dead animals all around, animal fat boiling in
big drums and slabs of fat hanging from the ceilings.
Members of ISKCON collected samples of commercial ghee in Pune and sent them
to be tested at the Anatech Laboratory and research centre in Bangalore. The
tests based on the Fancier-Transbraned Infrared spectrum Replication showed
beyond a doubt that the ghee contained animal fat. This laboratory which has
analyzed hundreds of ghees said that of all the brands in India, Amul was
the best brand for ghee and butter, with even Nestle adulterated with about
5% vegetable oil fats. They said that most ghee, including Amul, was a
mixture of cow and buffalo milk
Unfortunately most labs in India do not have the equipment to test. They can
simply say that the ghee is adulterated. Why is ghee being adulterated?
Firstly, because there is no milk. India prides itself on being the world’s
largest producer of leather so all the cows are being killed off rapidly to
service the hundreds of leather units in Chennai, Kanpur and Kolkata – which
kill lakhs of cows and calves. Recent raids have found that only 30% of the
"milk" we drink, is milk. The rest is a mixture of soap, urea, earthworm
fat, oil and whiteners. So if there is no milk, how does one get the ghee?
450,000 tonnes of ghee are supposedly made every year, 80% of which is eaten
and the rest offered to the gods in rituals that include marriage and death.
This is an impossible figure – the actual ghee would be less than a quarter.
The second reason is that milk products like ghee only have a 5% profit
margin so the only way to be profitable is to use animal fat.
If you insist on ghee make your own. Boil milk. Keep taking the cream off.
When the cream is cold, take a wooden stick and churn it. The water
separates and the rest becomes unsalted butter. Melt the butter over low
heat gradually in a heavy-bottomed pot. Do not stir. Cook until it is a
clear golden liquid. It may bubble and foam may form on top which you’ll
need to skim off and discard. Remove from heat while the liquid is a clear
gold. Any darker and it’s overcooked. Take a large sieve and line it with 4
sheets of cheesecloth or muslin. Place it over a clean dry pot. While still
hot, carefully strain the ghee through the cheesecloth-lined sieve into the
pot. Transfer the strained ghee carefully into a clean glass jar and shut
tightly. Ghee at room temperature looks semi-solid. Ghee can be stored for
extended periods without refrigeration, provided it is kept in an airtight
container to prevent oxidation. Always use a clean utensil to scoop out
ghee. # - Prahladananda Swami - 22/7/09; 7:04:38 PM -