Dairy farmers in Kiambu County have been trained on safe Milk handling to ensure the milk produced in the farm is safe for human consumption.
The exercise conducted by the county department of Health in collaboration with the department of Agriculture trained Dairy Society representatives from all over the county in a bid to help farmers comply with relevant regulations.
According to the Director Cooperatives Jane Kamunge the farmers trained have covered a wide range of topics related to milk production, including best practices for maintaining cleanliness on the farm, properly storing and transporting milk, and testing the milk for bacteria and other contaminants.
“Kiambu is still the leading county in Milk production hence there is need to educate the farmers on hygienic milk handling, processing and marketing to prevent unhygienic milk handling practices at the farm level” said Kamunge
She added that simple hygiene practices like cleaning cows’ udders and teats before milking can avert major health risk to consumers
“When a farmer for example used the same water and drying towels for all cows it increased the risk for transmission of diseases such as mastitis between cows thus posing a health risk to the milk consumer” she added
Jane cited that the overall cleaning of the cowsheds at the farm level determines the quality of milk produced; which includes proper disposal of manure and proper handling and storage of animal feeds, which if exposed to weather elements may increase the risk of growth of aflatoxin producing fungi.
On her part the County Director for public health Teresiah Kariuki cited that toxic harmful bacterium that causes blood infection, pneumonia and other illnesses can be found in poorly handled milk
“Last year International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)-Kenya conducted a study that showed that 493 milk samples tested, 237 (47.9 per cent) were contaminated with Pseudomonas spp which can cause infections in the blood, lungs and other parts of the body” she said
“We encourage such training as farmers, since this will help reduce the amount of money farmers lose every year when our milk is returned or even rejected by milk processor companies due to contamination” said Mark Waweru a dairy farmer from Githuguri Sub county.
By Grace Naishoo