5 simple ways to test if milk is contaminated

Testing for water and other improper additives in milk


Milk vendors for instance, will put chemicals, water and other impurities just so they have more milk.

In Nairobi, especially, you are likely to be a victim of fake milk unless you buy packed milk. But so that you don’t become a victim of food poison after consuming adulterated milk, we compiled some tips to help you test the milk.

Here are simple tips you can use at home:

1. Milk flow test

Put a drop of milk on a polished surface. If the milk stops or flows slowly leaving a white trail behind, the milk is pure. But if the milk flows fast and leaves no marks, the milk most likely has water.

2. Boil

This is one of the most effective ways to know if your milk is contaminated. Instead of boiling it together with water while making tea, boil it separately. Boil as you stir under low heat. If the milk is adulterated, it will thicken and form cramps as it reaches the boiling point. However, depending on the additive, it may not reflect immediately. In that case, let your milk sit for up to three hours after boiling. If the layer formed on top is thick and oily, the milk is pure. But if it’s just a thin layer which is watery, the milk has definitely been adulterated.

3. Testing starch

To detect if starch has been added to the milk, get a sample of it and add some iodine or salt. Adulterated milk will turn blue while pure milk will remain intact.

4. Taste and smell

Your smell organs will never go wrong. Sniff the milk first thing after buying it. By now, you should know what fresh and pure milk smells like. If you sense a nasty or strange smell, the milk could be synthetic. You can also taste and if it tastes like soap, chemicals have been added to the milk.

5. Litmus test

Your Chemistry lessons finally come in handy. Urea does not change the taste of the milk and is the most common method of milk adulteration. To test urea in milk, mix some of it with soya bean powder. Then dip a litmus paper. If the litmus changes from red to blue, the milk has urea.


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