A study was conducted with the aim of evaluating the physicochemical properties and microbial qualities of raw cow’s milk along the milk supply chain in Haramaya district. A total of 123 smallholder dairy producers, one dairy cooperative, 3 milk collectors, 6 milk retailers, 8 selling points and 18 consumers were interviewed using a semi-structured questionnaire. Sixty raw milk samples were used for physicochemical and microbiological analysis. Random sampling method was used to collect samples from producers and purposive sampling method was used to collect samples from other sampling sources. The overall mean values for temperature, pH, specific gravity and titratable acidity of marketed milk in the study area were 24.07°C, 6.32, 1.03, and 0.20, respectively, while the overall mean value of fat, protein, total solids, solids-not-fat, and lactose contents were 4.50, 3.24, 12.78, 8.28, and 4.27%, respectively. Significant differences (P<0.05) were found between the sources of milk samples on all measured parameters of chemical composition except fat content. The overall mean total bacterial, coliform, and yeast and mould counts were 5.48, 4.96 and 4.90 log cfu/ml, respectively. In conclusion, the result of this study indicated that milk samples collected from all sampling points were subjected to microbial contamination and did not meet quality standards set by Quality Standard Authority of Ethiopia. It is, therefore, recommended that awareness should be created among stakeholders involved in milk production and handling practices on method of quality milk production and marketing in the study areas.
Key words: Raw milk, milk value chain, physicochemical properties, microbial quality.
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