Livestock and Fisheries Minister, Luhaga Mpina announced the decision after he toured a number of milk selling points in the city where traders claimed to have their milk destroyed by inspectors.
Mpina acknowledged receiving complaints from milk traders in the city alleging that TDB officers have been mixing their milk with colours and kerosene over failures to meet required standards and not following proper business procedures.
Mpina said the inspecting officers should instead help traders and educate them on how to properly conduct their businesses and where they can purchase the required equipment.
“I received a number of complaints from milk traders saying TDB officials are destroying their products. I am directing you to suspend the operation and come up with a strategy to help them improve their businesses and operate in accordance with the law,” said Minister Mpina.
Earlier, before the minister’s announcement to suspend the operation, the milk traders said they were aware of the requirements as outlined by the board, but most of them do not have enough capital to purchase the needed equipment.
One of the milk traders, Esther Elias said: “I have been affected by the operation because all my milk has been destroyed by inspecting officers.”
However, officials from the board claimed to conduct the operation to ensure traders abide by the laws. According to them, destruction of the milk was meant to protect consumers from drinking poor quality milk.
Early this month, the government announced a one month crackdown on illegal importers of livestock and dairy products to control rampant smuggling and protect local manufacturers.
The move aimed to boost the market for local products.
The minister tasked authorities TDB, Tanzania Meat Board (TMB), Director of veterinary services (DVS) and the Director for production and market to further intensify the control through ‘operation Nzagamba’.
According to UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Tanzania has a low level consumption of milk and dairy products which is 45 liters per capita per year, against the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations of 200 liters annually.
The yearly amount of milk produced in Tanzania is 2.4 billion liters but less than 10 per cent of the milk produced is processed.
Tanzania has a total of 32.2 million cattle, according to Livestock and Fisheries Ministry. Among them, there are 20 million goats, 5.5 million sheep, 2 million pigs and 636,997 donkeys.