Netizen 24 KEN: Kenyan watchdog raises red flag over "poisonous" milk

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Kenyan watchdog raises red flag over "poisonous" milk

A baby elephant drinks milk in an elephant orphanage in the suburb of Nairobi, Kenya, April 26, 2012. (Xinhua/Ding Haitao)

NAIROBI, Nov. 10 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's milk regulator has raised concerns over "poisoned" milk in the East African nation due to poor farming practices, local media reported on Friday.

The Kenya Dairy Board (KDB) has warned that samples tested show much of the milk is unfit for human consumption as it contains aflatoxins and antibiotics, among other chemicals.

"We have tested samples of milk and there is high presence of aflatoxins and preservatives, which are health hazards," Kaberia Muriungi, a Senior Dairy Development Officer at KDB in Voi was quoted as saying.

Other chemicals found in milk include preser vatives and stress hormones because the animals are not being taken care of properly, thus, farmers resort to the chemicals.

"We are consuming milk with high contents of these hormones and chemicals. Drug residues that the official and we found them in raw milk are detergents, disinfectants, pesticides and mycotoxins," said Muriungi, adding that preservatives such as formalin and hydrogen peroxide were discovered in milk.

According to Joseph Mwashi, a veterinary surgeon in Nairobi, livestock farmers are advised to observe withdrawal periods of drugs and use antibiotics only as directed by certified animal health service providers. However, a majority of them do not observe these recommendations.

For instance, an animal injected with an antibiotics should not be slaughtered for up to 15 days. And for a lactating cow, milk has to be discarded for seven days to prevent passing chemicals to humans.

Eggs from treated hens, on the othe r hand, have to be discarded for three days to avoid feeding people with the drug.

"Most Kenyan farmers however do not observe this as they fear losses, therefore, they sell the produce. When people consume such meat, milk and eggs before the designated withdrawal period elapses, they are exposed to sub-lethal doses of the antibiotics and therefore encourage the development of antibiotic resistance," he explained.

On the other hand, when it comes to aflatoxin, the chemical is passed to animals through use of bad maize to make dairy feeds.

"Chronic dietary exposure to doses of aflatoxins is a known risk factor for liver cancer and other health-related issues," said Mwashi.

Muriungi, however, noted that the general quality of milk in the country is fairly good but is yet to attain the required standards.

According to research, most bacteria found in animals are also found in humans due to the close relationship between domestic animals and man.

Development of antibiotic resistance in one species of livestock is a real and present danger to human beings because the resistant bacteria may easily cross to people.

Source: Google News

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