EVALUATION OF THE MICROBIAL LOAD AND IDENTIFICATION OF POSSIBLE SOURCES OF CONTAMINATION OF RAW COW’S MILK IN JOANNA, BLACK BUSH POLDER, REGION 6, GUYANA
Milk is one of the main sources of nutrients to animals, but due to its high water activity, it serves as an ideal medium for the growth of microorganisms. The purpose of this research was to evaluate the microbial load in raw cow’s milk and to identify the possible sources of raw milk contamination in Joanna. Fifteen (15) raw milk samples were collected randomly according to the simple random sampling method and farmers were interviewed. Raw milk samples were analysed for Escherichia coli and aerobic bacteria. From the 15 samples of raw milk, contamination with E. coli (93.33%) and aerobic bacteria (100%) was observed. Also, several factors, milk handling practices, unhygienic practices, extensive farming systems, and lack of general zoonoses exposure practices and awareness, predisposed raw milk to microbial contamination. This research concluded that the quality of milk was unsatisfactory since it was heavily contaminated with bacteria. It is recommended that there should be an increase in the agriculture extension education and awareness programme to help improve milk quality.
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