Around 77 percent of pasteurised milk samples assessed in a study were found to have high levels of bacteria, making direct consumption of such milk unsafe.
The level of bacteria found was beyond the standards set by Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution, said the study.
“Raw or pasteurised milk available in the market are found to be contaminated with disease-causing organisms and should not be consumed without thorough boiling,” said Mohammad Aminul Islam, associate scientist and head of the Food Microbiology Laboratory at icddr,b.
Consuming such milk can cause various diseases like diarrhoea, dysentery and typhoid, he said.
“And, even if you drink the milk after boiling, nutrition value is heavily compromised,” said Aminul, principal investigator of the study conducted by icddr,b, with support from CARE Bangladesh.
The International Journal of Food Microbiology published the study on April 24.
To assess the microbiological quality of milk at different stages of the dairy value chain, scientists collected 438 raw milk samples from milk producers, collectors, chilling plants and restaurants in 18 upazilas of Bogra, Gaibandha, Nilphamari, Dinajpur, Joypurhat, Rangpur and Sirajganj.
Additionally, 95 samples were collected from commercially processed milk found on the shelves of retail stores in Dhaka and Bogra.
Scientists found that at the primary producers’ level, 72 percent milk samples were contaminated with coliform and 57 percent were contaminated with faecal coliform bacteria. And, 11 percent of samples had high levels of E. coli.