Predisposing risk factors to milk quality and safety in smallholder dairy enterprises in Kenya
Author(s): Alaru PAO, Shitandi AA, Mahungu SM and Muia JMK
Abstract: The unhygienic milk handling practices along the value chain predispose it to microbial and chemical contamination. This study aimed to investigate the on-farm practices related to animal health management and milk handling predisposing risk factors to milk quality and safety in Githunguri. A cross-sectional survey using a pre-tested questionnaire was administered to randomly selected smallholder dairy farmers (n= 457). Most farmers have enhanced standard measures for clean and safe milk production. However, a portion of them do not adhere to recommended practices such as screening workers for zoonotic diseases (82.8%), striping of milk for mastitis test (47.1%), teat dipping after milking (68%), feeding mouldy feeds to animals (35.2%) and observe withdrawal period after drugs administration (23.3%). The use of untreated water for sanitation and plastic containers for milk storage poses a threat to the quality and safety of milk. Furthermore, variations of farmers' demographic characteristics on milk collection routes influenced hygienic milk handling practices (p<0.05). Hence, a need to develop programmes to educate farmers on good agricultural practices, surveillance and control of hazards at the production level.