Menz has long been known for its quality butter production but traditional milk products are generally reported to be of substandard quality. Therefore, this investigation was conducted to access physiochemical and microbial quality of butter from Menz district along the market value chain. The study was conducted by using laboratory analysis of physiochemical and microbial quality. The microbiological count data were transformed to log10 values before statistical analysis. Overall values of 15.05%:82.62%:2.09%, 14.26%:83.44%:2.77%, 14.25%:83.30%:1.03%, 14.58%:83.82%:3.58%, and 12.52%:83.96%:2.82% for moisture, fat and free fatty acid contents were observed in samples from farmers, traders, made by investigators, Tarmaber and Addis Ababa, respectively. In general, an overall mean of 3.94 ×109 : 2.66×106 : 1.83×106, total aerobic mesophilic bacterial count, total coliform and yeast and mold counts were observed in samples from farmers. Total aerobic mesophilic bacterial count, total coliform and yeast and mold counts values were 3.44×109:3.03×106:1.31×106 and 3.26×109:1.61×106:1.77×106 for samples collected from traders and for butter made by invigilators, respectively. For samples collected from Tarmaber and Addis Ababa, these values were 4.19×109:2.69×106:1.56×106 and 4.20×109:2.10×106:1.45×106, respectively. There is unhygienic production and processing of butter in the study area. Both physiochemical and microbial analysis shows the substandard traditional production system of the area which calls for improvement. Improvements are required on introduction of modern butter production technologies and awareness creation on hygienic production, processing and handling of butter.
Key words: Bacterial count, fat content, market value chain, butter from Menz district, moisture content.
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