Kenya Dairy Board warns of dangerous milk in the market

A sample of milk sold in the Kenya market contains a high bacteria load of up to 10m per milliliter of milk, five times higher than the accepted two million per milliliter according to a Kenya Dairy Board Bi-annual survey report released this month.

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Milking machines used to milk a goat/FARMBIZ AFRICA

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Milk is a basic commodity in Kenyan homes with 215.9m liters sold to processors between January and May 2017 thus posing a big threat to the country’s public health.

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While speaking in Voi on November 10th 2017 in a workshop to discuss milk quality standards in the country, Kenya Dairy Board Manager Kaberia Muriungi said that milk samples tested over the last one year contains pesticides, antibiotics and preservatives unfit for human consumption.

“There are incidences of high drug residues in some samples and this is because the farmers are not observing the withdrawal period  after treating of their dairy cows and are after making money” said Muriungi.

“This is an issue we are monitoring closely to make sure there is sensitization and partnership with various regulators so that we are able to test every single drop of milk through the right channels with the right equipment”. Muriungi was speaking in Voi.

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Further research by the Nairobi-based International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in October last year showed that 63 per cent of milk in Kenya is unsafe and may cause cancer and infertility in human beings.

Small-scale traders drive growth of Kenya's milk industry. Over 80 per cent of Kenya's milk output is produced by close to 800,000 smallholder dairy farmers in a sector that also has 350,000 smallholder milk vendors.

In 2016, the subject of milk safety featured prominently in Kenya. In the first case, unscrupulous milk traders and hawkers in Nakuru town were reportedly adding hydrogen peroxide to raw milk in attempt to prolong its shelf life, a recognized method of extending the shelf life of raw milk for up to eight hours that is promoted by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) where cooling of milk is not feasible though not authorized for use in Kenya

In the second case, the Ministry of Health reportedly busted a syndicate involved in processing, packaging and sale of ‘fake’ yoghurt (‘fake’ because it apparently did not contain any milk but was made from a cornflour base).

Milk is perishable in nature and farmers should use appropriate tools in the collection and in the processing. The final products of milk are; cheese, cream, butter, ghee, mala, ultra heat treated milk, yoghurt and skim milk powder. A liter of milk is currently retailing at approximately Sh91 with prices varying depending on location.