Although animal source foods provide important sources of energy, micro and macro nutrients they may introduce risks of food-borne disease. The dairy value chain supports the livelihoods of millions of rural and urban poor, for whom, the dairy value chain can act as a pathway out of poverty.
In Africa, food-borne diseases are considered as major threats for people. In most African countries, there is a lack of refrigeration and pasteurization of milk and dairy products along the production chain and informal markets are dominating the process such as in Tanzania. Interventions to develop the dairy value chain need to explicitly consider impacts on food safety, nutrition and livelihoods.
A team of researchers from the Royal Veterinary College, University of London, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Kafr-El-Sheikh University in Egypt and the International Livestock Research Institute with collaboration with researchers from Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania are currently conducting a study to determine how the activities of some actors in the dairy value chain affect the safety and quality of milk and dairy products.
Well developed and structured questionnaires have been used for collecting data along the dairy production chain in two districts in Tanzania. In addition, a participatory approach, involving discussions with producers and consumers, has been used. Biological samples have been randomly collected along the production chain for assessing microbiological hazards in milk and dairy products.
The outcomes of this rapid integrated assessment will be useful in establishing safety status of milk and dairy products in Tanzania and the importance of these products in local diets. The outcomes are also useful for developing appropriate risk mitigation measures to safeguard the health of consumers while increasing their confidence in the acceptability of the products.
By Mahmoud Eltholth and Kimberly Fornace