In India, milk is used in holy ceremonies, it is offered to the gods, poured over deities and generally considered the healthiest of drinks.
But a first-of-its-kind government survey reveals that a stunning 68.4% of milk sold in India does not meet basic government standards.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India tested milk across the country. It took 1,791 samples - and of of those, 1,226 were found to be "non-conforming."
In seven Indian states, 100% of the samples failed to meet standards.
Some samples contained water and milk powders; others included potentially toxic ingredients.
"We found about 14% of the samples which found traces of detergent," said V.N. Gaur, the chief executive officer of the food safety authority.
In lesser percentages, the tests also found hydrogen peroxide and urea - a substance found in fertilizer and urine.
"There is a problem and they need to face it head-on and they have to kind of really take some strict action against those people who are violating simple consumer rights of getting a clean glass of milk," said Savvy Soumya Misra, the food safety and toxins deputy program manager with the Center for Science and Environment.
Doctors say ingested over long periods of time, chemicals like detergent can eat away the lining of intestines, stomach and affect the liver and the kidneys.
Just adding water to the milk can pose a real danger in India where waterborne illnesses are commonplace.
"What you get is diarrhea. Vomiting. What we call gastroenteritis," said Dr. Suranjit Chatterjee, a senior consultant for internal medicine at Delhi's Apollo hospital said. "You can get something like cholera. You can have jaundice. There are infections like typhoid fever, which are all part of water-borne infections in this part of the world."FULL STORY