Pouring boiled milk in Waithaka, Nairobi, Kenya (photo credit: ILRI/Shadrack Isingoma).

A study published in the April 2023 issue of Current Developments in Nutrition has put forth new empirical evidence on the effect of COVID-19 pandemic-related changes in behaviour and government restrictions in Kenya on dairy supply chains and urban and peri-urban household food access.

The study focused on milk sold in informal markets and examined changes in milk sales, consumption of dairy products, and food insecurity among low-income households in urban and peri-urban Nairobi following the announcement of the COVID-19 pandemic in Kenya in March 2020.

The study was conducted by scientists affiliated to the International Food Policy Research Institute, the International Livestock Research Institute and the University of Greenwich.

The researchers started by collecting baseline data on milk sales and consumption from informal milk vendors and their customers in late 2019.

Later, two follow-up telephone surveys were conducted among the same milk vendors and customers in July and September–October 2020, respectively.

The first survey found that the volume of milk sold by the vendors had dropped by 30% compared to the baseline level and the volume of informally sold milk consumed by households had reduced by 23%.

After the second survey, the volumes of milk sold and consumed were found to have increased but were lower than the volumes observed a year earlier in the same season.

The study also found that the rate of food insecurity increased by 16 and 11 percentage points in the first and second surveys, respectively, compared to the baseline.

These findings suggest that the timing of the COVID-19 pandemic and the related government-instituted restrictions on movement to control the spread of the disease were associated with a decrease in the supply and consumption of milk from informal markets in Nairobi, and a decrease in the food security of peri-urban consumers.

The authors of the study therefore recommend that in times of crisis, short-term relief efforts and longer-term social protection policies be implemented to ensure that low-income households can maintain their food purchasing power and the quality of their diets.

“Such policies would also have positive effects on food vendors, as the demand for highly nutritious products would be maintained,” they add.

Additionally, movement restrictions to control the spread of COVID-19 should be designed to minimize disruptions to food supply chains, in particular of fresh foods, which are more vulnerable to supply chain disruptions.

This will ensure an adequate supply of nutritious products in the market and protect the incomes of people who depend on informal markets for their livelihoods.

Alonso, S., Angel, M.D., Muunda, E., Kilonzi, E., Palloni, G., Grace, D. and Leroy, J.L. 2023. Consumer demand for milk and the informal dairy sector amidst COVID-19 in Nairobi, Kenya. Current Developments in Nutrition 7(4): 100058.

Photo credit: Pouring boiled milk in Waithaka, Nairobi, Kenya (ILRI/Shadrack Isingoma)

Bangladesh fish market (photo credit: Kingkar Shaha, ECOFISH II/WorldFish)

Antimicrobial resistance is a public health problem worldwide. Bangladesh, like its neighbouring countries, faces many public health challenges, including access to safe food, inadequate food surveillance, as well as increasing antimicrobial resistance.

A new study published in Antibiotics (Mar 2023) investigated bacterial contamination and the antimicrobial resistance profile of pathogens in marketed food in Bangladesh. The study also explored barriers to reducing antimicrobial resistance in the country.

The study was carried out by researchers affiliated to the Bangladesh Agricultural University, the Bangladesh Department of Livestock Services, the Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute, the International Livestock Research Institute, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala University and the University of Greenwich.

The researchers collected 366 tomatoes, 359 chicken and 249 fish samples from 732 vendors in traditional markets in urban, peri-urban and rural areas in Bangladesh, as well as from 121 modern retails in Dhaka capital to analyse Vibrio cholerae and Escherichia coli in fish, Salmonella in chicken, and Salmonella and E. coli in tomatoes.

Antibiotic susceptibility against 11 antibiotics was tested using a disc diffusion test and interpreted by an automated zone inhibition reader.

A qualitative study using key informant interviews was also conducted to explore antimicrobial use and antimicrobial resistance reduction potential in Bangladesh.

They found E. coli in 14.21% of tomatoes and 26.91% of fish samples, while 7.38% of tomatoes and 17.27% of chicken were positive for Salmonella, and 44.98% of fish were positive for Vibrio cholerae.

About 70% of all isolated pathogens were multidrug resistant, that is, they were resistant to three or more antibiotic groups.

Qualitative interviews revealed an inadequate surveillance system for antibiotic use and antimicrobial resistance in Bangladesh, especially in the agriculture sector.

To be able to fully understand the human health risks from bacterial hazards in the food and the antimicrobial resistance situation in Bangladesh, the authors of the study propose that a nationwide study with a One Health approach be conducted, including antimicrobial resistance testing and assessment of antimicrobial use and its drivers.

The study was supported by the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health, the CGIAR Initiative on Resilient Cities and the CGIAR Initiative on One Health.

Samad, M.A., Eberson, L., Begum, R., Alam, M.G.S., Talukdar, F., Akter, R., Sinh Dang-Xuan, Sharma, G., Islam, S., Siddiky, N.A., Uddin, A.S.M.A., Mahmud, M.A., Sarker, M.S., Rahman, M.S., Grace, D. and Lindahl, J.F. 2023. Microbial contamination and antibiotic resistance in marketed food in Bangladesh: Current situation and possible improvements. Antibiotics 12(3): 555.

Photo credit: Biponibag fish market (Kingkar Shaha, ECOFISH II/WorldFish)

Customers at a milk bar in Ndumbuini in Kabete, Nairobi (photo credit: ILRI/Paul Karaimu).

Favourable policies that promote the availability and affordability of milk sold by informal markets can help to increase milk consumption and boost the nutrition of children in low-income households in Kenya, a new study reports.

The study, published in Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems (Feb 2023), identified the patterns of household milk purchase and consumption in peri-urban low-income households in Dagoretti, Nairobi, with emphasis on young children and milk bought from informal markets.

The study also sought to estimate the key determinants of dairy purchase and consumption patterns to identify areas of leverage to increase household milk consumption.

Milk plays an important role in the growth and development of children. In Kenya, it is one of the most widely produced and consumed animal food products but often consumed in small amounts among children of low-income families.

The study found that 98% of the sampled households purchased unprocessed fresh milk at least once during the seven days prior to the survey, while only 17% bought packaged pasteurised milk.

The amount of unpackaged milk purchased by households was positively and significantly related to household income, the number of children below the age of four years, and the budget for animal food products.

Analysis of milk consumption patterns by children under four years of age revealed that milk and dairy products were more commonly consumed as part of dishes than as individual products.

Although informal markets were found to play a key role in meeting the milk needs of children, consumption of milk was below recommended levels.

Because of the association of income and milk intake, the authors of the study call for the government to support the dairy sector with policies that promote the availability and affordability of milk.

This is especially so for the informal dairy sector that the majority of Kenyan low-income families rely on to meet their dietary and nutritional needs.


Muunda, E., Mtimet, N., Bett, E., Wanyoike, F. and Alonso, S. 2023. Milk purchase and consumption patterns in peri-urban low-income households in Kenya. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems 7: 1084067.

Photo credit: Customers at a milk bar in Ndumbuini in Kabete, Nairobi (ILRI/Paul Karaimu)

Fruit and vegetable shop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (photo credit: University of Florida/Geraldine Klarenberg)

The World Health Organization estimates that every year, 600 million people become ill and many die because of unsafe food. Up to 38% of those affected are children under five years of age, and 53% were people living in low- and middle-income countries.

To address this gap, the Evidence and Action Towards Safe, Nutritious Food (EatSafe) project recently organized an EatSafe Innovation Challenge aimed at encouraging the development of food safety solutions or safer food products towards improving food safety in traditional markets where most consumers in low- and middle-income countries access their food.

On Tuesday 13 December 2022, the EatSafe project will host a webinar to highlight the importance of innovative solutions in food safety, and their applicability to low- and middle-income countries, specifically in traditional markets and along the food value chain.

This webinar is the second part of a series on innovative approaches to food safety. The first webinar, held in January 2022, featured consumer-centred approaches to food safety research.

In this second webinar, speakers will share on the application, implementation and practice of innovative solutions for food safety, including highlights from finalists of the EatSafe Innovation Challenge.

Below are details of the hour-long webinar and how to register.

Date: Tuesday 13 December 2022

Time: 0800 hours EST / 1400 hours CET / 1600 hours EAT

Registration link: 


  • Delia Grace, Professor of Food Safety Systems, Natural Resources Institute and Joint-appointed Scientist, International Livestock Research Institute
  • Helen Weldemichael, CEO, Safe Dish Ethiopia and Assistant Professor, Wolkite University
  • Oyeyemi Fadairo, Project Lead, Solarflex Dryers
  • Richard Pluke, Chief of Party, EatSafe project

EatSafe is a project of Feed the Future and the United States Agency for International Development.

Photo credit: Fruit and vegetable shop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (University of Florida/Geraldine Klarenberg)

Photo credit: Chickens on a poultry farm in Kiambu County, Kenya (ILRI/Hung Nguyen-Viet)

World Antimicrobial Awareness Week is marked annually from 18 to 24 November to raise global awareness on antimicrobial resistance and encourage rational use of antimicrobials to reduce further emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance.

Antimicrobial resistance occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medicines, making infections harder to treat and increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death.

Antimicrobial resistance is currently one of the biggest threats to global public health. Researchers have estimated that bacterial antimicrobial resistance caused 1.2 million deaths in 2019.

Two-thirds of the global increase in antimicrobial use is from the agricultural sector. Rational use of animal health products, particularly antibiotics, should therefore be promoted as one of the strategies to reduce the spread of antimicrobial resistance.

The Animal and Human Health program of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) seeks to effectively manage or eliminate livestock, zoonotic and foodborne diseases that matter to the poor through the generation and use of knowledge, technologies and products, leading to higher farmer incomes and better health and nutrition for consumers and livestock.

Our research approach to improving flock and herd health in smallholder systems promotes the rational use of antibiotics. To this end, we work with national, regional and international partners to carry out research on antimicrobial resistance at the human–livestock interface.

To celebrate World Antimicrobial Awareness Week 2022, under the theme Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance Together, we feature a curated selection of recent research outputs on antimicrobial resistance authored and co-authored by scientists from ILRI’s Animal and Human Health program.

Peer-reviewed journal articles

Conference posters and presentations

For more information, contact Arshnee Moodley (, antimicrobial resistance team leader at ILRI, or visit the CGIAR Antimicrobial Resistance Hub website.

Join the online conversations by following the hashtags #AntimicrobialResistance and #WAAW.

Photo credit: Chickens on a poultry farm in Kiambu County, Kenya (ILRI/Hung Nguyen-Viet)

Fruit and vegetables on sale alongside other food items in a local market in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (photo credit: ILRI/Geraldine Klarenberg).

Foodborne disease is a significant global health problem, with low- and middle-income countries disproportionately affected. Given that most fresh animal and vegetable foods in these countries are bought in informal food systems, much of the burden of foodborne disease here is also linked to informal markets.

Developing estimates of the national burden of foodborne disease and attribution to specific food products will inform decision-makers about the size of the problem and motivate action to mitigate risks and prevent illness.

A new research study, published in Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems (Nov 2022), provides estimates for the burden of foodborne disease caused by selected hazards in Burkina Faso and Ethiopia and attribution to specific foods.

Country-specific estimates of the burden of disease in 2010 for Campylobacter spp., enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli, Shiga-toxin producing E. coli and non-typhoidal Salmonella enterica were obtained from the World Health Organization (WHO) and updated to 2017 using data from the Global Burden of Disease study.

Attribution data obtained from WHO were complemented with a dedicated Structured Expert Judgement study to estimate the burden attributable to specific foods. Monte Carlo simulation methods were used to propagate uncertainty.

The burden of foodborne disease in the two countries in 2010 was largely similar to the burden in the region except for higher mortality and disability-adjusted life years due to Salmonella in Burkina Faso.

In both countries, Campylobacter caused the largest number of cases, while Salmonella caused the largest number of deaths and disability-adjusted life years.

In Burkina Faso, the burden of Campylobacter and enterotoxigenic E. coli increased from 2010 to 2017, while the burden of Salmonella decreased.

In Ethiopia, the burden of all hazards decreased. Mortality decreased relative to incidence in both countries.

In both countries, the burden of poultry meat (in disability-adjusted life years) was larger than the burden of vegetables.

In Ethiopia, the burdens of beef and dairy were similar, and somewhat lower than the burden of vegetables.

The burden of foodborne disease by the selected pathogens and foods in both countries was substantial.

Uncertainty distributions around the estimates spanned several orders of magnitude.

This reflects data limitations, as well as variability in the transmission and burden of foodborne disease associated with the pathogens considered.


Havelaar, A.H., Sapp, A.C., Amaya, M.P., Nane, G.F., Morgan, K.M., Devleesschauwer, B., Grace, D., Knight-Jones, T. and Kowalcyk, B.B. 2022. Burden of foodborne disease due to bacterial hazards associated with beef, dairy, poultry meat, and vegetables in Ethiopia and Burkina Faso, 2017. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems 6: 1024560.

Photo credit: Fruit and vegetables on sale alongside other food items in a local market in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (ILRI/Geraldine Klarenberg)

Scientists from the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) have published a new study that explores how the safety of milk and dairy products is understood and managed within the informal dairy sector of Guwahati, the largest city in Assam, northeast India.

The study, published in the journal Cogent Food & Agriculture (Oct 2022), contributes to a growing body of literature that questions negative assumptions about food safety in informal markets, and seeks to understand how access to safe and healthy food for all is, or can be, achieved in these markets.

The study combined a literature review of the informal dairy sector in Assam and India with a field survey and key informant interviews.

The survey of 113 producers, intermediaries, retailers, traditional processors and consumers, provides insights into how people think about the safety of milk, and the everyday practices they employ to mitigate food safety risks when trading and consuming dairy products.

The findings suggest that, in the absence of formal guarantees of quality and safety, consumers’ cultural practices and producers’ and traders’ knowledge likely reduce the risks of consuming raw milk.

Despite the informal dairy sector receiving little direct government support in India, the study found that at the state level, there has been some cooperation between government officials, small-scale producers and informal traders.

The authors conclude that the absence of adverse relations between these groups, together with proactive attempts at collaboration, could inform the approaches of other Indian states to food safety governance, and are a positive foundation for future improvements to food safety in Assam’s dairy sector.


Nicolini, G., Guarin, A., Deka, R.P., Vorley, B., Alonso, S., Blackmore, E. and Grace, D. 2022. Milk quality and safety in the informal sector in Assam, India: governance, perceptions, and practices. Cogent Food & Agriculture 8(1): 2137897.

Photo credit: Evening milk sales in Guwahati, Assam, India (ILRI/Susan MacMillan)

Fruit and vegetables on sale alongside other food items in a local market in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (photo credit: ILRI/Geraldine Klarenberg).

The rapid transformation of food systems is creating unintentional infectious disease risks that will need to be addressed through effective coordination between agricultural and public health sectors, a new review study says.

A food system includes all the aspects of feeding and nourishing people: growing, harvesting, packaging, processing, transporting, marketing and consuming food.

The review, published in Lancet Planetary Health (Sept 2022), explored how intensification of agricultural production and increasing complexity of food supply chains, particularly in low-income and middle-income countries, change the risks and relative burdens of infectious diseases.

The review covered four case studies:

  • vector-borne disease in irrigated agriculture;
  • zoonotic diseases in livestock value chains;
  • food safety; and
  • antimicrobial resistance associated with food systems. 

For each case study, the authors asked three questions:

  1. What aspects of food system transition are creating unintentional infectious disease risks?
  2. What solutions might exist for these problems?
  3. How would they require better coordination of agricultural and public health policy and practice?

Food systems in transition are characterized by intensification and diversification of food production, as an increasingly urban and more wealthy population demands different diets.

The review showed that successfully addressing the challenges of evolving food systems calls for constructive dialogue between agricultural and public health sectors.

Such a cross-sectoral approach recognises the costs and benefits of disease-reducing interventions and seeks win–win solutions that are most likely to attract broad policy support and uptake by food systems.

For areas such as antimicrobial resistance, it is important to identify the potential agricultural and health outcomes of agricultural interventions to reduce health risks.


Waage, J., Grace, D., Fèvre, E.M., McDermott, J., Lines, J., Wieland, B., Naylor, N.R., Hassell, J.M. and Chan, K. 2022. Changing food systems and infectious disease risks in low-income and middle-income countries. Lancet Planetary Health 6(9): e760–e768.

Photo credit: Fruit and vegetables on sale alongside other food items in a local market in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (ILRI/Geraldine Klarenberg)

Customers at a milk bar in Ndumbuini in Kabete, Nairobi (photo credit: ILRI/Paul Karaimu).

Informal milk trading in peri-urban Nairobi plays a key role in supporting both livelihoods and nutrition, particularly among poor households. Gender dynamics affect who is involved in milk trading and who benefits from it.

To better understand gendered constraints and opportunities in informal, peri-urban dairy marketing, scientists from the International Livestock Research Institute and the International Food Policy Research Institute conducted a qualitative study in 2017 with 45 men and 50 women milk traders in Dagoretti, a peri-urban area in Nairobi, Kenya. The study is published in Gender, Technology and Development (27 Jun 2022).

The findings show that milk trading is more lucrative for older men than for women and younger men among the respondents. The study delves into the reasons behind the observed differences in the experiences of women and men as informal milk traders. The study also discusses the implications of the findings for interventions aimed at enhancing the sustainability and equity of the dairy sector.


Galiè, A., Njiru, N., Heckert, J., Myers, E. and Alonso, S. 2022. Gendered barriers and opportunities in Kenya’s informal dairy sector: enhancing gender-equity in urban markets. Gender, Technology and Development 26(2): 214–237.

Photo credit: Customers at a milk bar in Ndumbuini in Kabete, Nairobi (ILRI/Paul Karaimu)

Village women and livestock in Niger (photo credit: ILRI/Stevie Mann).

Governments are currently negotiating a historic global pandemic treaty to protect us from future pandemics. The special session of the 2021 World Health Assembly agreed that the new accord will focus on early detection and prevention of pandemics, as well as the One Health approach which recognises the interconnectedness of human, animal and environment health.

On Tuesday 28 June 2022, the Action for Animal Health coalition will host an online event during which experts from civil society and multilateral organizations will discuss why robust animal health systems are critical to putting One Health into practice to reduce the risk of zoonoses spilling over to people.

The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) is a member of the Action for Animal Health coalition which calls on governments, donors and international agencies to invest in animal health systems through five pillars of action:

  • Support community engagement and equitable access to animal health services
  • Increase the numbers and improve the skills of the animal health workforce
  • Close the veterinary medicines and vaccines gap
  • Improve animal disease surveillance
  • Enhance collaboration for One Health

Join the online event to hear more about why stronger animal health systems are key to preventing another pandemic. 

Below are details of the event and how to register.

Date: Tuesday 28 June 2022

Time: 1200–1315 hours (BST, GMT+1)

Location: Online (a Zoom link will be sent to registered participants the day before the event)

Registration link: 


  • Klara Saville, head of animal health, welfare and community development, Brooke/Action for Animal Health
  • Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, founder and chief executive officer of Conservation Through Public Health
  • Mariana Vale, Ecology Department, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Preventing Pandemics at the Source, and member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
  • Chadia Wannous, One Health global coordinator, World Organisation for Animal Health
  • Angélique Angot, laboratory specialist, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Moderator: Patricia Amira

Photo credit: Village women and livestock in Niger (ILRI/Stevie Mann)

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