Milk adulteration in Sudan

Posted on 21 August 2018 by Makhosi Mahlangu

FAO reports that Sudan produces about 7.1 tonnes of fresh milk from local breeds with 95% of the milk from nomads. A crossbreed unit of cows numbering 500,000 produces the bulk of milk in Sudan. The great bulk of all livestock production – possibly 90% of the total, though the actual figure is not known – comes from smallholders and migratory producers. Cattle population in Sudan was estimated to be 29,840.000 million head. Among the Sudan cattle population, Kenana and Butana are the most promising indigenous milk breeds.

Sudan flag photocredit:Wikipedia

Milk can be considered a complete diet as it contains a complete nutrient profile with major elements such carbohydrates, fats, proteins, mineral salts and vitamins. The nutrient profile is normally balanced based on the Daily Recommended Allowance. The principal constituents of milk are water, fat, proteins, lactose (milk sugar) and minerals (salts). Milk also contains trace amounts of other substances such as pigments, enzymes, vitamins, phospholipids (substances with fatlike properties), and gases.

Adulteration of milk reduces the quality of milk and can even make it hazardous. Adulterants like soap, acid, starch, table sugar and chemicals like formalin may be added to the milk. Most of the chemicals used as adulterants are poisonous and cause health hazards. Developing countries are at higher risk related with this problem due to lack of good monitoring and policies. Research shows that water is added to milk in Sudan to adulterate the composition of milk. The butterfat content is reduced through tempering which poses serious consequences to consumers and milk processors. Milk adulteration is mainly done in the peripheral districts around the Khartoum state. Water is the main adulterant considering its availability and cost. Other major components like starch are less likely to be adulterated considering their cost and their difficulty in homogenisation during milk processing.

There is a need to organise the quality and marketing channels for milk from traditional sectors in Sudan. In Sudan, milk is distributed through irregular marketing channels such as venders on donkeys or by cars in addition to collection centers and some consumers buy milk directly from the farms. These informal channels make milk uncontrollable and could influence the nutritional value of milk in case of adulteration


Adam, A. A. H. (2009). Milk adulteration by adding water and starch at Khartoum state. Pakistan Journal of Nutrition8(4), 439-440.

Salih, M. A. M., & Yang, S. (2017). Advances in Dairy Research.