Government has warned the public against consuming milk that is unprocessed or unboiled. The ministry of agriculture said the sale and transportation of milk in cans was illegal.
State minister for animal husbandry Bright Rwamirama said the Dairy Development Authority carries milk inspections on local milk vendors and processors twice a day but there were unscrupulous individuals who dilute and contaminate the milk once the inspections were done.
"We encourage the public to consume milk that is packaged. If you must consume milk that is sold in cans then you must boil it to avoid diseases like brucellosis. Most of the milk sold in cans has a lot of water added to it and sometimes posho to increase its density," Rwamirama said. He was addressing journalists in Kampala to launch a campaign to mark the June Dairy Month.
He said families buy 'loose' or unprocessed milk at sh800 per litre because it looked cheaper than buying processed milk at sh1200 per litre. He stressed that loose milk was never pure milk. He said the penalty for selling dilute or contaminated milk was a loss of trading license and fine or imprisonment.
The minister urged Ugandans to drink more milk saying it was a source of nutrition. "In Uganda the per capita milk consumption of milk per year stands at 54 litres compared to the 200 litres per capita year recommended by the WHO. Kenya's per capita consumption of milk is 100 litres per year," Rwamirama said.
He said government was boosting milk production in the country through improving veterinary services, improving animal nutrition, genetic improvement, restocking and heifer distribution to families and households.
"Annual milk production has increased from 1.5.litres in June last year to 1.8b this year. Milk transport tankers have increased from 99 to 126. The number of processing plants has increased from 22 to 30. The plants process pasteurized milk, UHT, yogurt and milk powder. Importation of milk products has declined because of the increase in supply and processing," he said.
Dr Jolly Zaribwende, executive director Dairy Development Authority said babies below one year of age need milk all the time either from breast milk or from cows and goats. "Adults need one glass of milk a day. Milk has calcium and is good for the growth of teeth and bones. Even elderly people need more milk to keep their bones strong," she said.