Milk poisoning in Ethiopia

Feb 17, 2012 (ILRI) – Staphylococcal poisoning from drinking non-pasteurized or non-homogenized milk was found to affect over 90% of a tested population in Debre Zeit, Ethiopia. The cause? “Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium that can cause mastitis (udder infection) in dairy cows” according to collaborative research undertaken by scientists from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and Addis Ababa University. The bacteria can then produce enterotoxins in the milk which, when consumed by a person, cause a real risk of food poisoning.

Scientists have been measuring the level of staphylococcal poisoning – also known as food poisoning – found in the fermented milk in Debre Zeit. The research has also shown that traditional milk fermentation can help ensure milk is safe for consumption by reducing “the risk of food poisoning by Staphylococcus aureus by 93.7%.”

During milk souring: “…the organic acids produced during fermentation inhibit the growth of spoilage micro-organisms, thereby prolonging the storage life of the milk.” These traditional techniques are especially useful when industrial milk preparation methods are not available.

This study is a joint collaboration between scientists from ILRI and Addis Ababa University (see Safe food, fair food project) It was also published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology.

–Related news ILRI’s original blogpost.



TAVETA, KENYA (Nairobi Star) — Police in Taveta have arrested 17 Ethiopians for entering the country illegally. They were arrested Wednesday morning at Timbila area, a few kilometres from Taveta town by police on patrol after a tip off from the public.

Police said the 17 men were dropped in the area by a lorry and were planning to cross the border to Tanzania on foot.

Witnesses said the 17 had been driven through illegal routes outside Taveta town at night to evade police arrest. Police said that the suspects did not have any identification documents when they were arrested. Taveta deputy OCPD Eshiphan Gichohi said that the suspects had alleged that they were from Nairobi .

Gichohi said that investigations had been launched to establish where the suspects were from and where they were going. “We have launched investigations on the suspects since we cannot believe what they have told us although we are facing a language barrier,” said Gichohi. He said they will get a translator to help them in interrogating the suspects to unmask their mission in the country. The police boss said that the suspects will be arraigned in court immediately they are through with investigations.