KASESE. Milk has a nutritional component which is good for both babies and adults. It provides minerals that are essential for healthy bones and teeth.
While milk is one of the most consumed drinks worldwide, it has health hazards when adulterated.
A study conducted by the Dairy Development Authority (DDA) indicates that many dairies in Kasese District are selling adulterated and contaminated milk, which puts consumers’ lives at risk. Those that adulterate the milk do so with a view to maximise profits.
In a surprise inspection early this week in major towns of Kasese, Hima, Mpondwe and Bwera by the dairy inspectors, it was discovered that the milk is either diluted or contaminated, which affects its nutritional quality.
Also those who sell milk have no health fitness certificates, no license and the premises do not meet the minimum dairy standards.
“We have done inspection to all dairies in Mpondwe, Bwera, Hima and Kasese Municipality but we found out that what you are selling is not milk but rather coloured water,” Mr Denis Atuha, a dairy inspector, noted.
Mr Atuha noted that almost all the dairies sell milk in plastics which is not allowed, mix milk with other products, transport it in jerrycans and sell it at the roadside.
“You are all criminals because you are cheating the public by selling them poison. You have compromised the public safety which is now the government priority,” he said.
He claimed that normally, the water added into milk is unhygienic which contaminates milk.
“We have poured more than 500 litres of milk in plastics, and more than 2,000 litres poured due to adulteration. We have closed several dairies although many closed before we could reach them,” he said.
Mr Atuha assured the milk dealers that government has now invested in quality and urged dealers to adhere to minimum standards.
“We are exporting milk to all the neighbouring countries and because of that, we shall not condone anyone who wants to compromise with the quality of milk as prices increase,” he said.
Earlier, after the inspection, the team had a brief meeting with the milk dealers to sensitise them on the requirements which will not be compromised if one wants to remain in milk business.
Ms Penninah Natumanya, another dairy inspector, told the operators that, “You get to know that from today you are handling food. If you do not handle milk properly, it also means that the nation is not handled properly”.
Among the requirements of selling safe milk, Ms Natumanya said, the attendants must clear all the bushes and sweep all the ways to the toilets saying many dairies were found in bushy areas and without pit-latrines, which is not recommendable.
She said the dealer must have a DDA licence, the store walls must be painted, or with tiles and terrazzo, and he or she must provide a table for milk testing reagents and take records.
Milk dealers must put on white overall uniforms, gumboots and dairy attendants must wear headgears.
She also revealed that the dealers must have a hand washing facility and dairy equipment which include milk aluminium cans and cups but not plastics.
“Accumulation of microorganisms spoils milk. Make sure you have protective gears special for milk and stop handling anything once you are attending to milk, not even bread,” Ms Natumanya said adding that an attendant must have a health certificate renewable every after six months.
Mr Christopher Kabagambe, the senior municipal health inspector, said a census of all dairies will be conducted to ascertain how many shops and bars have been approved to sell milk.
However, five days after the DDA operation, plastics are still being used to keep and measure milk, and no hand washing facilities are at the selling points.
According to Dr Peter Kibingo, the Kasese Municipal health officer, adulteration with water only has no problem to human life.
“If it is water only, I have no problem with that but the issue should be when milk is mixed with other substances like chloroform,” Dr Kibingo said.
Mr Kabagambe attributed the high increase of typhoid fever cases in the area to taking adulterated milk saying the way it is prepared matters.
“We cannot rule out the problem of typhoid fever in the district, it could have been as a result of poor boiling of the adulterated milk,” he said.