Powdered over fresh milk preference and hygienic dairy practices in Sri Lanka
Background The majority of Sri Lankans may select imported powdered milk over fresh milk, and a significant portion of Gross Domestic Product in Sri Lanka is spent on dairy products imports. Demand for fresh milk may be hindered by consumer preference towards powdered milk consumption and the lack of hygienic standards for fresh milk. The current study was conducted to identify factors contributing to consumer preference for powdered milk and to evaluate hygienic best practices of dairy farms.
... es of dairy farms. Methods The study took place in Kandy district, Sri Lanka. Two surveys were conducted: the first survey included questions concerning demographics and reasons for milk preference was administered to a randomly selected population (n = 561); the second survey focused on hygienic practices in dairy farms, and was administered to owners of dairy farms (n = 195). Milk samples were collected from individual cows and bulk tanks and analyzed for coliform counts. Regression approaches were used to evaluate associations of demographic variables with milk preference, farm management practices with mastitis history, and coliform counts. Results A large consumer preference was observed for powdered milk (86%), and females were 2.2 times more likely to select powdered milk than males (P = 0.03). Availability was the main reason for powdered milk preference, whilst taste was the main reason for selecting fresh milk. Coliform counts were higher in most of the analyzed bulk milk samples and rinsing bulk milk tanks with warm water showed a significant reduction in milk coliform counts. Washing the teats with warm water had a lower mastitis risk when compared to washing teats with regular water. Conclusions Study revealed that in order to create a fresh milk drinking culture in Sri Lanka there needs to be a mechanism to make it more accessible to the consumers. Fresh milk marketing strategies need to be focused more on the female consumers. Farmer education on good hygienic practices, elimination of inefficiencies in both milk production and collection process, standardization of milk quality according to the number of microorganisms in milk would improve the quality of dairy products in Sri Lanka.