Indian lab develops beef detection kits

MUMBAI: A government-run laboratory in western India has developed portable “beef detection kits” that will allow police to quickly determine whether meat is that of an illegally slaughtered cow, an official said yesterday.

The slaughter of cows, which are revered by Hindus, and the possession or consumption of beef is banned in most Indian states, with some imposing life sentences for breaking the law. “We have been working on beef detection kits for the past eight months and these will be distributed to Maharashtra and Mumbai police in August,” K Y Kulkarni, director of the Maharashtra state government’s Forensic Science Laboratories, said.

Kulkarni said the new kits were based on the ELISA method, where color changes of samples identify a substance. Police would just need to pour a sample into the kit and it would change colour to identify whether it was bovine meat or not within 30 minutes.

At present it can take several days for a laboratory to identify the source of meat through traditional DNA tests, leaving cattle traders languishing in jail, often innocently, while the outcome of tests are awaited. Kulkarni said the kits would cost 8,000 rupees ($123) each. — AFP

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