Assessment of Dairy Food Environment, Physicochemical Properties, and Microbial Safety of Milk and Cottage Cheese Across the Value Chain in Oromia Region, Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa University


Milk and milk products are nutrient rich foods, supplying energy and high-quality protein with a range of essential micronutrients. But, it becomes a health risk to the consumers if not handled properly due to high perishability and vulnerability to microorganisms. The present study was conducted in a cross-sectional study design to evaluate the dairy food environment and assess physicochemical properties, microbial safety of milk, and cottage cheese across the value chain in the Oromia region. A total of 65 milk and cottage cheese were collected for laboratory analysis including clot-on boiling and alcohol test, acidity, pH, total solids, fat, protein, lactose, solids non-fat, phosphorus, calcium, iron, and zinc contents. Qualitative tests of Listeria and Salmonella spp. and enumeration of Staphylococcus aureus and total coliforms were done following the standard methods. A total of 120 dairy products consumers of the respondents were interviewed to assess the dairy food environment. The result showed that nearly one-third and 14% of milk samples showed positive results for alcohol clot and clot on the boiling test, respectively. Statistically, there were significant differences (p≤0.05) of the physicochemical properties across the value chain. The mean of the milk acidity was 0.32 and it was lowered by 23% compared to cottage cheese. The mean of the fat contents collected from producers was 3.98% and it was reduced by 3.7, 14.6, 15.8 and 30.2% at milk collections, unions, raw milk, and pasteurized milk retailers, respectively. The overall mean of the milk ash was 0.66, but it was higher by 25% for cottage cheese. The microbial load of the raw milk was nearly higher by 50% compared to the pasteurized milk. The highest frequency of positive samples of Salmonella and Listeria spp. was found in raw milk samples collected from the union gate. The microbial load of the cottage cheese and pasteurized milk was lower compared to raw milk samples. The result of the survey indicated that above one-third of the respondents consumed dairy products frequently and the rest of them were constrained with fasting seasons. Despite the moderate dairy product availability, the majority of the study subjects responded as the price of dairy products was imbalance with their monthly income. Hence, consolidating the milk value chain to advanced formal ways and milk processing, dairy product diversification, and applying quality control system can enhance the safety and dairy food environment.



Cottage Cheese, Dairy, Environment, Food, Milk, Safety, Value Chain