Quality and safety assessment of raw bovine milk in Herat province, Afghanistan
AbstractMilk and various value-added dairy products are popular throughout Afghanistan. Over the past 10 years, several aid and governmental agencies have made concerted efforts to increase Afghan dairy production. At the same time, there has been visible growth in small milk shops in urban and peri-urban areas. These shops provide fluid milk and dairy products to consumers in the local economy. The quality and consistency of value-added dairy products are dependent on the quality of milk used as raw material. Here, we conducted a quality assessment of raw milk sold in open markets (bazars) as well as through small milk shops. Each sample (n = 100) was analyzed for fat, protein, and carbohydrate percentages, total bacterial concentrations, coliform concentrations, and various adulterations including added water, starch, and antibiotic residues. Only 34.4% of all samples contained < 105 colony forming units (CFU)/ml total bacteria, a standard acceptable bacterial concentration for raw milk in many countries. Similarly, the majority of milk samples (92.0%) contained > 100 CFU coliforms/ml. Milk purchased from milk shops was statistically more expensive, but milk samples from bazars more frequently contained irregularities such as added starch, low-fat percentages, or high water percentages. Many of the quality issues, we found were likely related to hygiene and sanitation practices at different points along the entire production chain. Decreasing overall bacterial concentrations could extend shelf life, improve consistency of fermented products and reduce waste due to unmarketable and unusable fluid milk.
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