Did you know that on average a Kenyan drinks between 20-120 liters of milk per year? Milk is sold everywhere from supermarkets to kiosks. The Kenya Bureau of Standards plays a big role to ensure that the milk you consume is safe for you and me. This is because milk can be a source of communicable and zoonotic diseases such as tuberculosis and brucellosis (described in an earlier post) . Despite all this, some Kenyans still buy unpasteurized milk and milk that has been adulterated unknowingly.
Milk adulteration is the illegal addition of any substance to milk or removal of any proportion of its natural constituents. It may happen accidentally or intentionally, but mostly, it happens intentionally by unscrupulous people looking to maximize on their profits. These sellers intentionally add things such as,
- Antibiotics, formalin or hydrogen peroxide as preservatives. From earlier posts I have talked about antibiotic resistance from drinking milk containing traces of the drug.
- Addition of water to increase the volume of milk. This reduces the nutritional value of milk as well as exposing consumers to water borne diseases such as cholera.
- Addition of thickeners such as soaps which can have detrimental health effects to the body.
- Addition of sugar to improve the taste, especially when milk has gone bad.
Some of the substances that accidentally find their way into milk include pesticides and disinfectants.
Honestly, the above things are just what we know, the magnitude of what these unscrupulous people add to milk to deceive consumers is not known. Their milk may be cheap, but cheap is expensive.