Collection centres blamed for contamination in milkThe risk of milk being contaminated at collection centres is twice that at the place of production, a study report unveiled on Thursday said.
The risk of milk being contaminated at collection centres is twice that at the place of production, a study report unveiled on Thursday said.
Lack of technical manpower, poor knowledge about proper storage and bad management have been blamed for the high rate of contamination in milk.
The baseline study report entitled Enhancing Quality Standards of Raw Milk: Validation of Good Manufacturing Practices in the Supply Chain, jointly produced by Samarth-Nepal Market Development Programme and Forward, showed that 43 percent of the samples tested at collection centres were found to be contaminated compared to 20 percent at the source.
Krishna Poudel, team leader of the General Manufacturing Practices (GMP) validation project, said that the microbial growth rate in milk measured at collection centres was found to be more than 500,000 when tested with 68 percent alcohol.
The GMP standard recommended by the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) says that the bacterial count should be less than 500,000 when stored for 5 hours at a temperature of 4 degrees Celsius, if the milk is to be considered safe for consumption.
Researchers revealed the findings after studying milk samples collected from 231 farmers, 38 collection centres, 19 milk chilling centres and 25 transporters in 65 districts across the country, including Bara, Makwanpur, Kavrepalanchok, Nawalparasi and Tanahu.
As per the standards set by the Department of Food Quality and Technology Control, there should be zero coliform bacteria in pasteurised milk. However, the government body has failed to implement the standards, posing a risk to consumer health.
Checks have shown that even the milk sold by state-owned Dairy Development Corporation contains high bacterial counts.
The report shows that the management of collection centres is very poor compared to the standard set by GMP requirements. Likewise, there is lack of awareness and specific knowledge and skills in handling milk among workers at collection centres.
The infrastructure, utensils, equipment and facilities at these centres are primitive, resulting in high chances of contamination.
The report also pointed to inefficient time management for exposing dairy products to risk of contamination. “Proper time management during collection and delivery to chilling centres will help to maintain the quality of milk to a large extent,” says the report.
Araniko Rajbhandary, proprietor of Nepal Dairy, blamed the existence of a large number of informal dairy businesses without adequate infrastructure
for the high rate of contamination in milk.
According to him, there are 350-400 dairies operating in the Kathmandu Valley without a government licence.
A study conducted by the NDDB some three years ago also showed that only 26 out of the 800 dairies nationwide were licensed.