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icddr,b scientists reveal

75pc of pasteurized milk unsafe for consumption

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17th-May-2018       
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UNB, Dhaka :
The icddr,b scientists have revealed that more than 75 percent of all pasteurized milk available on the local market is unsafe for direct consumption.
However, this can only be dangerous if consumed 'raw' (unboiled), which is often practiced in Bangladesh, said the icddr,b revealing disturbing findings regarding commercially pasteurised milk which is the primary source of nutrition for children. At every stages of the dairy value chain from the farm to store, milk is found to be highly contaminated with bacteria above national and international standards, it said in a new study on Wednesday. With the aim to assess the microbiological quality of milk at different stages of the dairy value chain, 438 raw milk samples were collected from milk producers, collectors, chilling plants, local restaurants in the northern part of Bangladesh.
Additionally, 95 samples were collected from commercially processed milk found on the shelves of local retail stores in Dhaka and Bagura. Scientists found that at the primary producers lever, 72 percent and 57 percent milk samples collected were contaminated with coliform ( 100 CFU/ml) and faecal coliform (100 CFU/ml) bacteria, respectively and 11 percent of samples were contaminated with high number of E. coli ( 100 CFU/ml). The faecal coliform bacteria is considered as a hygiene indicator and presence of these bacteria in the milk indicates that milk    
has been contaminated with pathogens or disease producing bacteria or viruses, which can also exist in faeces of warm blooded animals, role of milking animal or the farmers to blame. At the collection points, samples were found to be contaminated with a high number of coliform bacteria (100 CFU/ml) and faecal contamination (91 percent) while more than 40 percent of samples had a high E. coli count.
At the chilling plants, collected samples were found to be contaminated even at a higher
.rate than that of collection points. Samples from all 15 chilling plants distributed in five districts were contaminated with high number of coliform as well as faecal coliform. E. coli was found in samples from all chilling points while 67 percent of samples were contaminated with high level of E. coli. Presences of some other bacteria such as B. cereus, staphylococci were also found in the samples but within normal limit. Bacterial counts in milk gradually increase from producers' level to the chilling plants and to the consumers' levels (e.g. local restaurants).
Even more concerning is that scientists have found that about 77 percent of all pasteurised milk samples assessed have a high level of total bacterial counts (aerobic plate count) , which is beyond the BSTI (Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution) standards of 2.0X104 CFU/ml. On the other hand, 37 percent and 15 percent of the same samples were found to be contaminated with coliform and fecal coliform bacteria, respectively. Pasteurization is done to kill pathogenic bacteria to make the milk safe to consume. Both the national and international standards have zero tolerance for faecal coliforms in pasteurised milk.

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