Ensuring safety and quality of milk and dairy products across the dairy value chain in Ethiopia
By ANH Academy 06 January 2021

Collaborating institutions

Holeta Agricultural Research Center (HARC) of Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR)
Kansas State University (KSU)
Pennsylvania State University (PSU)

Dates: 4 years project (Nove 2018 - Oct 2022) 

Value: $998,227

Principal Investigator: Dr. Ashagrie Zewdu

Project summary

The safety of dairy products with respect to food-borne diseases is a great concern around the world, especially for developing countries where unhygienic production conditions and practices pose a risk to raw of milk and various dairy products (Zelalem et al, 2007). The consumption of raw milk and its derivatives is common in Ethiopia, creating public health concerns due to the fact that it is a common reservoir for several food borne pathogens (FBP) such as Campylobacter spp., Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella spp. etc (Yilma and Faye, 2006) .

It has been estimated that most of the microbial contamination of raw milk occurs during the time of collection, handling, processing and distribution. However, there is currently a lack of reliable data describing the prevalence of key pathogens in the dairy supply chain in Ethiopia. Therefore, this project aims to fill this gap in knowledge. Improvements in raw milk handling are a necessity in the developing countries like Ethiopia, in order to enhance the quality and safety of milk and milk products in the country.

According to previous studies, the most effective improvements include implementation of good hygienic practices for livestock and milk handlers, cleanliness of the milk collection and storage containers, control of microbial growth during transportation and in processing facilities, and the pasteurization of raw milk and dairy products.

The goal of this project is therefore;

  1. To identify the prevalence and distribution of food borne biological hazards associated with milk and dairy products (highly nutritious food items)
  2. Assess post-harvest practices and risk factors regarding milk and dairy products handling across the dairy value-chain in Ethiopia.
  3. Increase the food safety and food microbiology laboratory capacity of the dairy value chain actors and government stakeholders through trainings.

Brief Description of Research/Study Design

The project objectives will be achieved through:

  1. Qualitative and quantitative assessments of milk and dairy products for the presence of microbiological hazards at multiple levels of the dairy value-chain (farm, collection, cooperatives/unions, processing, and retail) and conducting individual survey post-harvest handlers on practices along the value-chain;
  2. Review and assessment of current post-harvest food handling/processing practices and identification of efficient and cost-effective mitigation strategies at each level in the value- chain and
  3. Develop training modules and deliver education/ research methods programs to increase the capacity for food safety within the milk value-chain



Institutional Websites 

Addis Ababa University
Pennsylvania State University (PSU)
Kansas State University (KSU)
Holeta Agricultural research center (HARC) of EIAR

Contact Information

Dr. Ashagrie Zewdu, Assistant Professor of Food Science and Nutrition, College of Natural sciences, Addis Ababa University
Mr.  Abdi Keba, Assistant Researcher II in Food Science and Nutrition, Dairy Research Laboratory, HARC
Dr. Jessie Vipham, Assistant Professor in Global Food Systems and Nutrition, Department of Animal Sciences and Industry, KSU
Dr. Jasna Kovac, Assistant Professor of Food Science, Department of Food Science, PSU
Dr. Aynadis Tamene, Assistant Professor of Food Microbiology, College of Natural Sciences, Addis Ababa University.
Ms. Alganesh Gemechu, A Senior Researcher at Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, Holeta Agricultural Research Center, Oromia, Ethiopia.
Mr. Zerihun Assefa, Microbiology Researcher at Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, Holeta Agricultural Research center, Oromia, Ethiopia.
Prof. Catherine N. Cutter Professor and Food Safety Extension Specialist, Department of Food Science, PSU
Dr. Kerry E. Kaylegian Assistant Dairy Research Professor, Department of Food Science, PSU

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