Feed the Future




Improving handling practices and microbiological safety of milk and milk products in Borana pastoral communities, Ethiopia

Principal Investigator (PI) and Lead Institution

Dr. Kebede Amenu, University of Addis Ababa and Dr. Silvia Alonso, ILRI

Co-PI and Collaborator Institutions

University of Tennessee, International Livestock Research Institute, Agricultural Research Service- United States Department of Agriculture, Yabello Pastoral and Dryland Agriculture Research Centre, Ethiopian Civil Service University.


Borana is a pastoral area in southern Ethiopia where milk is a common food. A recent study involving participatory qualitative investigation on the topic focused on four village administrations of the Yabello district in the Borana zone, and microbiological assessment focusing on E. coli count and selected other pathogens was carried out along different levels of milk value chain.

The observation of milk handling and processing practices revealed apparent unhygienic conditions, and high pathogen loads. Pastoral women considered proper smoking of containers and utensils, using various plant species, as an important traditional practice for assuring the quality and safety of milk and dairy products. Other reasons for smoking mentioned were: increased shelf life of products, good consistency of curdled milk, pleasing flavor and health benefits. The study also revealed that pastoralists considered causes of acute mastitis as ‘evil eye’. The goal of this project is to improve handling practices of milk and dairy products and thus improve food safety for pastoralists in Borana. The objectives of the project are to assess:

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Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems
Department of Animal Sciences
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