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Concerns Raised over the production of Ghee

Monday, 23 July 2007 / Published in News, Vegetarianism / 10,181 views

By Madhavendu das – SSM (Vrindavan – IN)

Dear Devotees, Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Recently India TV and other channels telecasted the abominable way of Ghee production in many factories all over India. Before showing that horrible seen the news alert everyone that if you are vegetarian then you will be shocked and if you are non-vegetarian then you will give up eating Ghee for your entire life time. Of course it is very difficult to buy pure Ghee from market.

It shows that in the factories profusely animals dead bodies all around. Some where its fat is boiling in a big big drum and some where it is hanging. They boil it for some time and finally they mix only a little pure ghee or ghee perfume for the smell. Then they nicely pack it and send it to market.

Also it shows in another factory that they mix chemical “Styrai” in Vanaspati Ghee. “Styrai” is a very very poisonous which is only used for detergent and soap. Doctors. Say that it affects in our different systems and organs of the body. It causes Cerrohice of liver, chronic liver disease, excessive use of this causes cancer of liver. So, please be cautious of your ghee that you are using right now. It may be poison, fat in the form of ghee.

It is said in the “Parasar Smrti” that if you eat ghee which is obtained in vedic way from pure desi cow then you will be free from all kind of diseases like blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, cancer and if you continue eating ghee then you will not be affected by any kind of disease and your intelligent will increase and you will be vigorous and all your brain cell will be active.

Srila Prabhupada said “At the present moment in this age of Kali-yuga, the entire human society has become an assembly of cheaters and cheated” Some materialistic Nyaya is “cheap and best”. People think that I have the best thing for cheapest price. But actually he is cheated and keeps the conception of not being cheated and it goes on for longer period. But our Nyaya should be “only best” for the service of Their Lordships.

Unless you are making ghee in your own way (or some reliable source) it will be very difficult to say that what you are having in your home in the form of Ghee is real or false. So, please be careful, henceforth. Ofcourse it is the kingdom of Kali and Kali wants no one should break his principles like meat eating. But our principle is no meat eating. Hare Krishna! Your servant Madhavendu das

10 Responses to “Concerns Raised over the production of Ghee”

  1. asprng_vaishnav says :

    Hare Krsna Prabhuji
    I searched on the internet to find refence to above story and could not find any. If you know any websites with the story, please post urls.
    Hari Bol
    your servant

  2. iksvaku dasa says :

    Could you please post a link to check the information about such article?

  3. Antaryami Dasa says :

    Prabhu: Hare krsna AGTSP, your information’s are not so alarming because in the U.S.A. since about 1970 the milk industry has been adding cod fish liver oil to all of the basic milk sold in stores for the reasons of giving milk vitamin A and D. How it goes is- the milk is processed at the plants to remove all of the butter fat, (I did all my home work personally) afterwords all that remains is a kind of white water (a term we the hare krsna devotees of the 80’s used ) they then add a low fat powdered milk to bring it to a milk consistency, then they add cod fish liver oil SOs to make it nutritional. Somewhere in the lab’s of these corporations they found that this fish liver oil has a good source of A and D vitamins. It has been abit hard to find even an organic milk with out this added. I will say that it seems that the non devotees have found a way to induce the vegetarians to eat their foods. In the srimad bhagavatams the story of what Hiranyakasipu did is like this: first he made it that if one did pious works one got the reaction for doing sinful work and vice-versa, real simple. Also srila prabhupada says in the S.B. that the vedas say drink more milk it is good all around. But the non devotees say that milk is bad and that the blood and flesh of the cow is good. Today the media says milk and butter causes cholesterol so don’t drink it. Prabhu you decide and we get what we pay for, hare krsna. by Antaryami dasa.

  4. Madhavendu das says :

    Dear Devotees,
    Please check this link of the video on how ghee is being
    manufactured using animal fat in india:
    Please forward this to as many devotees as possible.
    Thank You. Hare Krishna

    Your servant,

  5. Danavir Goswami says :

    Regarding the belief that modern milk contains fish oil, here is some information I personally gathered nine years ago. Footnotes are supplied with references below.

    I spoke with Mr. Paul Freeman of the Freeman Company, considered one of America’s leading authorities. He states that American dairies began using fish liver oil (two parts per million) in the early 1930’s to replace vitamin D3 which was stripped away during milk separation. At that time, fish oil was the only source of vitamin D3 available and it was used widely in commercial liquid milk. After World War II, a cheaper source of vitamin D3 was discovered which began to replace the more expensive and fishy tasting fish oil vitamin D3.(1) By the late 1950’s, fish oil vitamin D3 had, by and large, perished in commercial dairies across the country. (2)
    Today less than one per cent of America’s milk uses vitamin D3 obtained from fish oil d this is only to be found in specially-labeled “organic” or so-called “natural” vitamin D milk sold in health food stores (primarily in Vermont).(3) Mr. Freeman explains that there is only one company in America which produces vitamin D3 from fish oil, Garelik Farms located in Massachusetts, however it is quite possible that they have discontinued by this writing since it is no longer lucrative economically. (4)
    Commercial liquid vitamin D3 milk that everyone purchases in the United States does not contain fish oil, nor did it during Srila Prabhupada’s stay with us.

    (1). This statement was confirmed by a highly-regarded specialist, Lauraine Rosenberry, formerly working at Cornell University.
    (2).Vitamin D3 from fish oil has been replaced in practically all United States dairies. I confirmed this information with three leading persons at Cornell University, as well as with Mr. Freeman, and Mr. Borgschulte at Givadaun-Roure Company. Givadaun-Roure is America’s largest distributor of vitamin D3 to the dairy industry. Further I contacted several large national dairies such as Land-O-Sun Dairies, Highland Dairy, Kroger, Suiza and Dean who confirmed that they use the vitamin D3 supplied by Givadaun-Roure. The vitamin D3 now used in liquid milk is an extract from wool and involves no violence.
    (3). I gathered this information through direct telephone conversations with the chief persons at Cornell University’s Milk Quality Program. Note: Cornell University is the milk industry’s authority on such matters.
    (4). A few people within the health food business feel that the vitamin D3 obtained without fish oil may not have fully synthesized all the isomers, therefore they prefer the fish oil vitamin D3 to be more complete or “natural.”

    To see the entire article I wrote on the subject, entitled “Miracle Food” please go to:

  6. prabhupadadasanudasa says :

    Vitamin D and Milk

    Prepared by Professor Anthony W. Norman;
    Department of Biochemistry & Biomedical Sciences
    University of California, Riverside CA 92521
    (December 12, 2000)

    Purpose of this statement:

    The objective of this brief statement is to provide some biological and nutritional background on vitamin D, which is a precursor of a steroid hormone [1a,25(OH)2D3] in higher animals, including humans. This will be followed by brief descriptions of vitamin D’s chemistry, nutritional importance, sources, production and presence in milk.
    What is a vitamin?

    A vitamin is a substance (organic molecule) whose presence is crucial to the normal every day life function of animals. However vitamins can not be directly produced by the animal’s body. Accordingly the daily requirements for the vitamin must be met through regular dietary intake of appropriate quantities of the vitamin(s). There are two general chemical categories of vitamins based on their solubility: water soluble vitamins (the B vitamins and others) and fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K).
    What is a hormone?

    A hormone is a chemical messenger that is produced and secreted by specific glands and cells within the body of animals. After secretion of the hormone, it is transported through the bloodstream to designated target organs where the hormone by binding to its specific receptor delivers its “message” to that set of cells. These cells then promptly produce biological responses specific for that hormone.
    What is vitamin D and why is it important:

    Chemistry: There are two chemical forms of vitamin D, namely vitamin D2 (sometimes referred to as ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (sometimes referred to a cholecalciferol). The natural form of vitamin D for animals and man is vitamin D3 that is produced in their bodies from cholesterol and 7-dehydrocholesterol. An alternative vitamin D2 is derived from the yeast sterol ergosterol by chemical procedures.

    The molecular structure of vitamin D is closely allied to that of the classical steroid hormones, e.g. cortisol, estradiol, progesterone, aldosterone, and testosterone (1). All steroid hormones and vitamin D3 are chemically related to the well known sterol cholesterol. Cholesterol in animals and man is a precursor substance for all steroid hormones and as well vitamin D3.

    Technically the molecule called vitamin D3 is not really a vitamin because it can be produced by exposure of the skin (higher animals and humans) to ultraviolet light or sunlight. The skin of many animals and man has a high concentration of the sterol cholesterol which is converted by enzymes in the skin to the sterol 7-dehydrocholesterol. Exposure of skin (including human skin) to sunlight for regular intervals results in the photochemical conversion of 7-dehydrocholesterol into vitamin D3. This sunlight- generated vitamin D3 is a precursor of the steroid hormone 1a,25(OH)2D3. Under these circumstances vitamin D3 is not a vitamin because it has been produced by the body (with the assistance of sunlight). However, if the animal or man lives in the absence of sunlight (e.g., Alaska in the winter) or exclusively indoors, then there is indeed an absolute regular requirement for the fat soluble vitamin D, that must be met through proper dietary intake.

    Therefore for nutritional and public health reasons, vitamin D3 continues to be classified even today in 2000 officially as a vitamin. Thus many vitamin capsules and food sources including cows milk are supplemented with vitamin D3 to improve their nutritional value. In the 1940’s this milk supplementation process reduced the incidence rate of juvenile rickets by 85% in the United States.

    Importance: Vitamin D3 is essential for life in higher animals. Classically vitamin D3 has been shown to be one of the most important biological regulators of calcium metabolism through stimulating the absorption of calcium from food across the intestine and participating in the incorporation of the absorbed calcium in to the skeleton (2). These important biological effects are only achieved as a consequence of the metabolism of vitamin D into a family of daughter metabolites, including 1a,25(OH)2-vitamin D3 [1a,25(OH)2D3]. 1a,25(OH)2D3, is considered to be a steroid hormone because the general mechanism by which it produces the biological responses attributed to vitamin D is similar to those of steroid hormones (3;4).

    It has become increasingly apparent since the 1980s that 1a,25(OH)2D3 also plays an important multidisciplinary role in tissues not primarily related to mineral metabolism, e.g. the hematopoietic or blood system, effects on cell differentiation and proliferation including important interactions with keratinocytes and cancer cells, and participation in the processes of parathyroid hormone and insulin secretion (3)

    Vitamin D Deficiency: The classic deficiency state resulting from a dietary absence of vitamin D3 or lack of ultraviolet (sunlight) exposure is the bone disease called rickets in children or osteomalacia in adults. The clinical features of rickets and osteomalacia depend upon the age of onset. The classical skeletal disorder of rickets includes deformity of the bones, especially in the knees, wrists, and ankles, as well as associated changes in the rib joint functions, which have been termed by some as the rachitic rosary (1).

    A regular access to vitamin D3 throughout life is important to facilitate the normal absorption into the body of dietary calcium which, in turn, is essential for normal bone health and may diminish or prevent the onset in the elderly of the bone disease osteoporosis.
    Requirements for vitamin D:

    Since vitamin D3 is produced in the skin after exposure of 7-dehydrocholesterol to sunlight, the human does not have a requirement for vitamin D when sufficient sunlight is available. Man’s tendency to wear clothes, to live in cities where tall buildings block adequate sunlight from reaching the ground, to live indoors, to use synthetic sunscreens that block ultraviolet rays, and to live in geographical regions of the world that do not receive adequate sunlight, all contribute to the inability of the skin to biosynthesize sufficient amounts of vitamin D3 (5). Thus, vitamin D3 does become an important nutritional factor in the absence of sunlight. It is known that a substantial proportion of the U.S. population is exposed to suboptimal levels of sunlight. This is particularly true during winter months (6;7). Under these conditions, vitamin D becomes a true vitamin which dictates that it must be supplied in the diet on a regular basis.

    Since vitamin D3 can be produced by the body and since it is retained for long periods of time by animal tissues, it has been difficult to determine with precision the minimum daily requirements for this fat soluble vitamin. The requirement for vitamin D3 is also known to be dependent on the age, sex, degree of exposure to the sun, season, and the amount of pigmentation in the skin (8).

    The current “adequate intake” allowance of vitamin D recommended in 1998 by the Food and Nutrition Board of US Institute of Medicine is 200 IU/day (5 mgrams/day) for infants, children and adult males and females up to age 51 (9). For females ages >51 or males ages > 70, the adequate indicated level is set at 400 IU/day (10 mg/day) or 600 IU (15 ug/day), respectively. The adequate allowance for pregnancy and lactation is set at 200 IU/day (5 mg/day). These recommendations are all summarized in a 1998 publication from the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine (9).

    In the United States adequate amounts of vitamin D3 can readily be obtained from the diet and/or from casual exposure to sunlight. The ultraviolet exposure can be as little as 3 X per week exposure of the face and hands to ambient sunlight for 20 minutes (10). However, in some parts of the world where food is not routinely fortified and sunlight is often limited during some periods of the year, obtaining adequate amounts of vitamin D becomes more of a problem. As a result, the incidence of rickets in these countries is higher than in the United States.
    What are the sources of vitamin D for humans?

    Animal products constitute the bulk source of vitamin D that occurs naturally in unfortified foods. Salt water fish such as herring, salmon, sardines, and fish liver oils are good sources of vitamin D3. Small quantities of vitamin D3 are also found in eggs, veal, beef, butter, and vegetable oils while plants, fruits, and nuts are extremely poor sources of vitamin D. In the United States, fortification of foods such as milk (both fresh and evaporated), margarine and butter, cereals, and chocolate mixes help in meeting the adequate intake (RDA) recommendations (11). Because only fluid milk is fortified with vitamin D, other dairy products (cheese, yogurt, etc.) only provide the vitamin that was produced by the animal itself.
    How is vitamin D produced commercially for food supplementation?

    When the critical importance to human health of a regular dietary access to vitamin D3 was understood (in the 1930’s), milk suppliers realized it would be advantageous to their customers’ health to market milk which had been supplemented with vitamin D3. Thus there developed in the 1940’s, and continues to the present, a large business of industrial production of vitamin D3 used for the supplementation of foods for human consumption: milk (both homogenized and evaporated), some margarine and breads. Since the 1960’s vitamin D3 has been used also for the supplementation of farm animal and poultry food. In 1973 in the United States some 290 trillion (290 x 1012) International Units of vitamin D3 was manufactured and sold for over 3 million dollars. This vitamin D3 is the equivalent of approximately 8 tons; [see page 62 of reference (2)].

    The commercial production of vitamin D3 is completely dependent on the availability of either 7-dehydrocholesterol or cholesterol. 7-Dehydrocholesterol can be obtained via organic solvent extraction of animal skins (cow, pig or sheep) followed by an extensive purification. Cholesterol typically is extracted from the lanolin of sheep wool and after thorough purification and crystallization can be converted via a laborious chemical synthesis into 7-dehydrocholesterol. It should be appreciated that once chemically pure, crystalline 7-dehydrocholesterol has been obtained, it is impossible to use any chemical or biological tests or procedures to determine the original source (sheep lanolin, pig skin, cow skin, etc.) of the cholesterol or 7-dehydrocholesterol.

    Next the crystalline 7-dehydrocholesterol is dissolved in an organic solvent and irradiated with ultraviolet light to carry out the transformation (similar to that which occurs in human and animal skin) to produce vitamin D3. This vitamin D3 is then purified and crystallized further before it is formulated for use in dairy milk and animal feed supplementation. The exact details of the chemical conversion of cholesterol to 7-dehydrocholesterol and the method of large-scale ultraviolet light conversion into vitamin D3 and subsequent purification are closely held topics for which there have been many patents issued (2).

    The major producers of vitamin D3 used for milk and other food supplementation are the companies F. Hoffman La Roche, Ltd (Switzerland) and BASF (Germany).
    What is the source of vitamin D in milk?

    Milk from all lactating animals, including humans, contains vitamin D3 that has been produced photochemically from 7-dehydrocholesterol present in the skin. In cow’s milk it has been determined that the concentration of vitamin D3 in milk provided by the cow is roughly 35-70 International Units per quart as determined via biological assay (12) and approximately 50-80 International Units as determined by modern chemical mass spectrometric procedures (13). However these are rather low levels of vitamin D3 from the perspective of providing the 200-400 IU per day as recommended by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine (9). Accordingly, as discussed above, the business practice of supplementing cows milk with chemically synthesized vitamin D3 was initiated. At the present time almost all milk sold commercially in the United States has 400 IU of chemically synthesized vitamin D3 added per quart. Any vendor of milk for human consumption containing added vitamin D3 is required by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to include a notice on the milk carton label. Usually this label states “400 IU of added vitamin D3″. However it is not required by law to indicate either the manufacturer of the added vitamin D3 or the sources of the cholesterol and 7-dehydrocholesterol used for its production.

    It is a fact that most milk sold in the US will contain vitamin D3 with two origins. (a) That vitamin D3 made by the cow using sunlight to irradiate 7-dehydrocholesterol present in her skin. (b) That vitamin D3 made by a chemical process and then added to the cow milk as a nutritional supplement. It is simply not possible to distinguish the origins of the two vitamin D3 preparations by any biological or chemical procedure, because they are the same molecular structure. Further, there is no legal requirement for the manufacturer of the vitamin D3 formulated for human food supplementation to specify the animal sources of the precursor molecules that were employed in the synthesis of the D vitamin.

    If a “food product” is construed to include a chemically pure substance that is the same in all animal species, then those individuals with strict religious reasons for avoiding food products from a particular species have, in the instance of milk and vitamin D3, a dilemma.
    Selected references:

    Also the WEB sites for the Vitamin D Workshop and the WEB sites of BASF and Hoffmann-La Roche, LTD [two of the largest industrial producers of vitamin D3 in the world] provide other general information related to vitamin D.

    Reference List

    Norman,A.W. and Litwack,G.L. Hormones, Academic Press, San Diego, CA.(1997).

    Norman,A.W. Vitamin D: The calcium homeostatic steroid hormone., Academic Press, New York.(1979).

    Bouillon,R., Okamura,W.H., and Norman,A.W. Structure-function relationships in the vitamin D endocrine system. Endocr.Rev. 16 (1995) 200-257.

    Norman,A.W.: Vitamin D. In Present knowledge in nutrution (PKN7). Ziegler,E.E. and Filer,L.J., Eds., International Life Sciences Institute, Washington (1996) pp. 120-129 .

    Holick,M.F. Environmental factors that influence the cutaneous production of vitamin D. Am.J.Clin.Nutr. 61 Suppl. (1995) 638S-645S.

    Webb,A.R. and Holick,M.F. The role of sunlight in the cutaneous production of vitamin D3. Ann.Rev.Nutr. 8 (1988) 375-399.

    Webb,A.R., Pilbeam,C., Hanafin,N., and Holick,M.F. An evaluation of the relative contributions of exposure to sunlight and of diet to the circulating concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in an elderly nursing home population in Boston. Am.J.Clin.Nutr. 51(6) (1990) 1075-1081.

    Harris,S.S. and Dawson-Hughes,B. Seasonal changes in plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations of young American black and white women. Am.J.Clin.Nutr. 67 (1998) 1232-1236.

    Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary reference intakes: A risk assessment model for establishing upper intake levels for nutrients. 1998) , 1-71. Washington, D.C., National Academy Press, Institute of Medicine.

    Adams,J.S., Clemens,T.L., Parrish,J.A., and Holick,M.F. Vitamin-D synthesis and metabolism after ultraviolet irradiation of normal and vitamin-D-deficient subjects. New Engl.J.Med. 306 (1982) 722-725.

    Collins,E.D. and Norman,A.W.: Vitamin D In Handbook of vitamins. Machlin,L.J., Ed., Marcel Dekker, New York (1990) pp. 59-98 .

    Hollis,B.W., Roos,B.A., and Lambert,P.W.: Vitamin D compounds in human and bovine milk In Advances in nutritional research. Draper,H.H., Ed., Plenum Press, New York (1994) pp. 59-75 .

    Adachi,A. and Kobayashi,T. Identification of vitamin D3 and 7-dehydrocholesterol in cow’s milk by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and their quantitation by high-performance liquid chromatography. J.Nutr.Sci.Vitaminol. 25 (1979) 67-78.

  7. cidanandas says :

    Milk,as it is produced now industrially,is a product of cow abuse:the artificially inseminated cows,after haveing been separated from the newborn calves,are daily exploited for her milk,and after several calves produced,they are sent to the slaughterhouse and all her body is ripped apart by demoniac exploiters. The ghee produced by such milk is also a by product of this exploitation,and due to the habit of feeding the pure animal with slaughterhouse rejects,included in the “special” flour,added to her feed,such ghee can’t be bonafide,as the fat matter contains still all the different chemicals-hormones/antibiotics/fertilisers and pesticides[of grass] that is fed to the animal during her miserable life.
    I wonder if the Lord accepts such a product,which has not trace of love for the sacred animal!
    The solution: we should really start a cow protection revolution,with self sufficient farms around the world,and so get pure foodstuffs,which will be beneficial to devotees/public relations/and Lord Krishna’s pleasure.
    HH Sivarama’s Swami’s project in hungary seems to be quite a good model to be followed by other countries[]

  8. rajas says :

    I am personally against using dairy because of the abuse to cows (unless obviuosly the cows are cared for by the temples/devotees properly etc.) however I am really happy because this week at least in the UK a company have produced organic ghee which I feel could be one step closer. I would love there be a policy in all temples to at the very least use all organic produce in countries it is available. If anyone is interested the company making organic ghee is called pukka ( and I really think to keep the integrity of ISKCON we should at least be thinking about doing this. It would help in many ways.

  9. sravaniya dasi says :

    Hare krishna!
    Here in Fiji, By Lord Krishna Kaliya’s mercy we get homemade ghee from milk, and we are so thankful that Lord Krishna allows us to offer Him pure ghee, after all He is Gopal.
    For myself, after reading this article, I am most inspired to offer Lord Krishna ghee, previously I was apprehensive because of cholesterol levels, but now this offering has to be done on behalf of those who cannot do so.

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