The Kenyan Dairy Board (KDB) has raised alarm over public health risks posed by the heavy presence of drug residues in local dairy milk.
KDB Chief Dairy Development Officer Kaberia Muriungi told local media that milk samples tested over the past one year period up to October 2017 had tested unfit for human consumption due to residual drug contamination.
“Most of the samples tested showed a presence of aflatoxins and preservatives, which are health hazards. We also noticed a heavy presence of stress hormones in milk, which indicates that the animals are not being properly taken care of. We cannot rule out the possibility that we are consuming milk with high contents of these hormones,” he said.
He attributed the heavy residual drug contamination in milk to ignorance among farmers who failed to observe the veterinary stipulations concerning the factory withdrawal period for dairy cattle that have been treated with drugs and pesticides that may be harmful to public health.
“The dairy farmers are not observing the withdrawal periods for treated cattle. They are just after making money. We are now looking into the problem with a view of making sure that there is proper sensitisation to control it,” Muringi said.
During the tests, raw milk was found to contain various detergents, disinfectants, pesticides, mycotoxins as well as traces of preservatives such as formalin and hydrogen peroxide. He said the quality of Kenyan dairy milk is also reduced by value chain players who add wheat flour and water in to increase quantity and boost sales volumes.
Further, nearly 16% of the milk collected from farmers was rejected at the collection centres due to acidity levels that were as high as 10%. Poor product handling down the value chain between the farmer and the consumer caused the deterioration in the quality of milk.
Kenyan milk was also found to have a high bacterial load of up to 10 million per millilitre of milk, against a global safety standard of 2 million per millilitre.