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Feed-to-Farm investigation of mycotoxin contamination of feed and milk in Ethiopia

Timeframe: September 2019 - June 2021

This project builds on research from a previous project: Mycotoxin Prevalence and Mitigation Measures in Ethiopia.

Principal investigator (PI) and lead institution

Co-PI and collaborator institutions

  • Dr. Jessie Vipham, Assistant Professor in Global Food Systems and Nutrition, Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab/Department of Animal Science and Industry, Kansas State University
  • Royal GD Animal Health, the Netherlands
  • Zelalem Abebe, FEED II/III Project/USDA, ACDI/VOCA, Ethiopia
  • Mestawet Taye, Director, School of Animal and Range Sciences, Hawassa University, Ethiopia
  • Sintayehu Yigrem, Hawassa University, Ethiopia


    In Ethiopia, milk plays a vital role in peri-urban and rural households by providing them with an important source of nutrition and income.

    This project builds on the work of two other  research projects funded by the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems in Ethiopia (Linking Cattle Nutrition to Human Nutrition and Mycotoxin Prevalence and Mitigation Measures). Both projects address food safety hazards associated with the cattle value-chain.

    Aflatoxins are fungal metabolites produced mainly by Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus that contaminate crops under favorable growth conditions. This new project, implemented by Kansas State University in partnership with Hawassa University, examines the prevalence of aflatoxins along the oil-seed cake livestock feed chain, including on smallholder dairy farms, to provide insight into the specific stages of production and transmission of aflatoxins that lead to high levels of contamination in livestock feed and milk in Ethiopia.

    This research will provide the basis for identifying risk mitigation strategies in feed and in milk in two of Ethiopia’s vital milk-sheds, Addis Ababa and Hawassa. The information is necessary for the development of targeted data-driven measures to curb the production and transmission of mycotoxins in the livestock feed production chain.


    This research project will establish on-farm baseline information for mycotoxins, with particular emphasis on aflatoxins, in livestock feeds containing oil-seed cake (i.e. cottonseed cake and noug cake) and in milk samples. It will investigate correlations between mycotoxin positive feed samples and milk samples (including presence and concentration). The project team is working on research objectives in two parts: 

    1. Survey and examine mycotoxin contamination of feed used in dairy production and of milk samples   
      • 1.1 Conduct a thorough literature review of common feed sources used in dairy production and compile published findings on the prevalence of mycotoxins in common feed sources.
      • 1.2 Conduct on-farm and in-feed mill assessments and personal interviews with farmers and feed mill workers, in order to create baseline information on feed availability, feeding practices, and farmer’s awareness of the risks associated with mycotoxin contamination of feed and milk on human and animal health. 
    2. Survey and investigate the source of mycotoxin contamination along the oil-seed cake livestock feed chain (farm-to-milk) to provide insight into the specific stages of production that are likely to be associated with the contamination of livestock feed in Ethiopia.

    More Information

     October 2020 research update ZEREYESUS VGM (Virtual General Meeting)

    Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems is part of Feed the Future

    This work was funded in whole or part by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau for Resilience, Environment and Food Security under Agreement # AID-OAA-L-15-00003 as part of Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems. Additional funding was received from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation OPP#060115.  Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed here are those of the authors alone.