Modelling exposure to biological hazards in the dairy chains of Andhra Pradesh to inform food safety policy

Collaborating institutions
  • The Royal Veterinary College (RVC)
  • Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao (NTR) College Of Veterinary Science
  • Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences University (GAVDASU)
  • International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)
Dates: 36 months 
Value: $820,823
Country: India (Andhra Pradesh)
Principal Investigator: Javier Guitian 

Project Summary: 

As in other Low and Middle Income Countries (LMIC’s), the dairy industry in Andhra Pradesh (AP) is intensifying and its output increasing to satisfy the growing demand for milk and dairy products. Milk and dairy products are an essential component of the diets of many AP residents. Furthermore, the State has high levels of rural poverty and the livelihoods of many families are linked to activities along the milk supply chain. Women play an important role at the production stages but do not have the same access to resources and opportunities (e.g. access to markets and milk commercialization) and are not well represented in the governance structures. The expansion of dairy production in AP has taken place without food safety challenges being fully addressed. Improving the safety of milk and dairy products in AP is now a public health priority, however, there are limited data on which to base food safety controls, guidelines and regulations. Furthermore, potential undesirable effects that enhancing milk hygiene controls may have on the participation of the rural poor in milk supply chains and on access of vulnerable populations to safe milk and dairy products are not well understood. In this investment, we tackle safety of milk and dairy products in AP by addressing three elements of the problem:

  1. lack of good quality data on presence of microbiological hazards in the dairy chains of AP
  2. limited adoption of good farming practices and milk hygiene practices
  3. the need for milk quality policies that are not only effective but also realistic, sustainable and equitable. 

We have developed a work plan that combines microbiological surveys of milk and dairy products, probabilistic modelling of the likely impact of control strategies and strong stakeholder engagement including participatory model building to explore the broad implications of milk hygiene policies and identify gender based constraints. Our approach relies on the use of risk assessment frameworks, which are well established as tools to support food-safety policies worldwide, but yet to be widely adopted in LMICs. This risk modelling methodology will be combined with system dynamics (SD) modelling, a holistic approach for studying the behaviour of complex systems incorporating feedback mechanisms which could undermine the effectiveness of policies over time or result in unintended consequences.  Stakeholder engagement will be a key activity along the whole project to facilitate translation of scientific outputs into improvements at farm level (improved farming practices), at intermediate level along the chains (improved milk handling practices) and at policy-level (improved risk-based regulation). Stakeholder engagement will be at all stages of the project, iterative, and completed by training activities to enhance local research capacity on technical aspects of risk modelling and on interpretation of model outputs and their use for policy formulation. To maximize potential uptake of research outputs beyond AP (within India and in other countries) a number of national and international organizations well positioned to facilitate dissemination and uptake of findings will be engaged in the project since its early stages.

Project resources: 

Other useful information and links

The Royal Veterinary College:
RVC’s VEEPH group:
Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao (NTR) College Of Veterinary Science:
Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences University (GAVDASU):
International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI):

Key people and contact email addresses:

Javier Guitian


Professor of Veterinary Public Health

Overall project coordination

Matteo Crotta


Post-Doctoral researcher

Probabilistic modelling

Hannah Holt


Resarch assistant

Field study design and data analysis

Jackie Cardwell


Senior Lecturer in Epidemiology

Qualitative methods

Ben Swift


Research Fellow

Microbiology / laboratory methods

Srinivas Tumati Rao


Head of Department - Veterinary Public Health and Epidemiology

Overall project coordination

Bindu Kiranmayi


Assistant Professor of Infectious Diseases

Microbiology / laboratory methods

Deepa Maharshi



Women and Nutrition

Venkateswarlu Vankayalapati


Assistant Professor Sociology

Qualitative methods

Jasbir Bedi


Associate Professor in Veterinary Public Health

Quality assurance and field training

Paviter Kaur


Assistant Professor in Veterinary Microbiology

Quality assurance and lab training

Jatinder Paul Singh Gill


Director of Research

QA and dissemination of results

Narinder Sharma


Controller of Examination

QA and dissemination of results

Karl Rich


Principal Scientist - Policy, Impact, & Value Chains

System Dynamics

John McGiven


Brucellosis R&D project leader

Laboratory training/quality assurance