Plastic bottles filled with cow urine, and marked “for religious purposes”, were found in several London stores which also sold food, the BBC’s Asian Network has claimed. The liquid has a large demand in South Asian Hindu community who use it for various religious ceremonies – although it is illegal to sell it for human consumption in England, it said.
Known as ‘gau mutra’, it was found in several shops, which also sold food. In one shop urine bottles were displayed under a shelf of naan bread. However, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, an independent body representing environmental health concerns, has warned against its sale with food.
One worker in a Greenwich shop said: “Hindus come buy it for religious reasons, if a baby is born it may be used during a religious ceremony for good luck.”
A Hare Krishna temple in Watford, Bhaktivedanta Manor, has a dairy farm which also produces the urine for worshippers. Managing director Gauri Das said the temple had been selling cow urine since the early 70s.
“I don’t sell it [the urine] for human consumption. It is down to the worshipper to do what they want with it.” A Foods Standards Agency (FSA) spokesperson said although it is illegal to sell the urine for human consumption, when applied externally it would not be considered food – although it could be subject to other legislation.
A Greenwich Borough Council spokesperson said: “Non-food products of animal origin are strictly regulated to prevent consumers from being exposed to harmful diseases. We are not aware of any particular premises in the borough where this product is on sale but will investigate immediately.”