26 November 2017

Kenya: Alarm on Milk With High Levels of Bacteria

Photo: Charlie Pye-Smith/ILRI
Farmer milks his cow in Busia, Kenya

The Kenya Dairy Board (KDB) has raised concern over unsafe milk sold by dairy farmers that contain high residues of drugs such as antibiotics, pesticides and preservatives.

Mr Kaberia Murungi, a manager with the Kenya Dairy Board, Voi branch, said samples tested over the past one year discovered milk that was unfit for human consumption as it had a high concentration of drug residues.

He blamed dairy farmers for failing to observe withdrawal periods after their dairy cows had been treated.

According to the board, the biannual quality survey report covering July to October this year showed a high bacteria load of up to ten million per millilitre of milk, way above the acceptable two million per millilitre.

The study randomly recruited 152 vendors and 207 farmers from four randomly selected urban centres in a cross-sectional study. It interviewed them using a pre-tested standardised questionnaire.

The 100-ml raw milk sample was collected from each vendor and farm, and tested for antimicrobial residues.

"What we found out was scary, thirty-two of the 207 (15.5 per cent) samples from farmers and 28 (18.4 per cent) of the 152 samples from vendors tested positive for antimicrobial residues. This means that the practice is very common," he said.

Other findings showed that 20 per cent of samples collected from farmers and a quarter of samples from vendors had been adulterated with water. The study was first published in Pan African Medical Journal.

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