The Kenya Dairy Board (KDB) has raised the red flag over quality and safety of milk in the market. According to the regulator, safety concerns emerge from the sale of raw milk directly to consumers and transportation of the product over long distances under conditions that compromise quality.
“Poor hygienic practices, adulteration and use of non-food grade containers expose consumers to contaminated milk,” KDB managing director Margaret Kibogy said yesterday.
Of the 5.2 billion litres of milk produced in the country annually, only 30 per cent goes through formal trade. Seventy per cent of the commodity is sold as raw, mostly in informal channels. Kibogy, however, said the threat to public health also rises from poor milk handling practices by traders.
State Department of Livestock deputy director Samuel Matoke called on the regulator to identify gaps that allow informal milk trade to thrive.
“Sale of raw milk to consumers under poor sanitary conditions is unacceptable. Delivering quality and safe milk and milk products should be an obligation of all milk dealers,” he said.
Kibogy said a number of policy instruments in the Kenyan dairy industry, including the draft National Dairy Policy (2013) and the National Dairy Master Plan (2010) recognise the important role of milk traders as a link between producers and consumers.
“However, due to the compliance challenges faced by the traders, various interventions are proposed to transform the channel,” she added during the signing ceremony of a memorandum of understanding with the Kenya Markets Trust (KMT), in a move meant to spur milk production and quality.
Kibogy said KDB has implemented several measures that aim to transform milk marketing, among them acquisition of 300 dispensers to boost milk storage, use of modernised dairy processing and preservation technology.
The pact between the two organisations, according to KMT chief operating officer Katanu Mwosa comes in the wake of concerns over informal markets, most of which face post-farm handling challenges.