The aim of this study was to determine the common uses and evaluate the microbiological safety of raw milk sold in southern Benin. To determine the different uses of raw milk, 345 individuals were surveyed in three locations (Allada, Ouidah, and Zongo). Per location, 115 individuals were randomly sampled. For the microbial analysis, milk samples were collected from the three targeted locality in southern Benin (Allada, Ouidah, and Zongo). Our data shows that the mean values (CFU/ml) of the analyzed samples vary according to the research organisms. Thus, it is recorded 1.8 × 108 for total aerobic mesophilic flora (TMC), 4.0 × 107 for fecal coliforms (FC), 3.5 × 107 for Escherichia coli, 2.8 × 107 for total coliforms (TC), 2.1 × 107 for Fecal Streptococci (FS), 1.6 × 107 for yeasts and molds (YM), 1.7 × 107 for sulfur reducing anaerobic bacteria (SRA) and 1.2 × 107 for Staphylococcus spp. None of the milk samples contained Salmonella spp. Globally, milk samples had important bacterial load with the highest values for those collected from Zongo and Ouidah. It can be said that raw milk sold in the Southern Benin’s markets does not comply with good hygienic practice rules in milking, storage, transportation and sale. Thus, raw cow milk sold presents a serious health risk for potential consumers.
Key words: Raw milk, microbiological quality, food safety, pathogens, Benin.
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