Traditional butter/ghee-making, predominantly done by women, is labor-intensive. To reduce this labor and/or increase incomes among these women, a hand-operated churner was previously developed with the capacity to reduce labor eight-fold. The present study was carried out to compare the quality of butter/ghee made using traditional churning in locally harvested plant containers (gourds and calabashes) and mechanized churning in the new device. As opposed to shaking the whole vessel, churning in the new device is achieved through a hand-operated crank connected to mixing baffles. Butter samples were aseptically collected from four locations (Kiboga1, Kiboga2, Kotido, and Ngoma) along the cattle corridor of Uganda. A “control” butter sample was made under laboratory conditions following standard procedure. The five samples were analyzed with respect to microbial safety, type and concentration of free fatty acids, and sensory attributes. Total viable count (TVC), Total coliforms (TC), Staphylococcus aureus
, Salmonella, yeasts and molds counts were determined using International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards. Fatty acid profile was determined by gas chromatography. Sensory evaluation of aroma, smell, taste, mouth feel, and overall acceptability of the products were also conducted. In the sensory evaluation, two commercially marketed ghee products (Sameer, and Lubega brands) were added. Total viable counts in all the samples were in the range of 102
cfu/g. Total coliforms were detected in Kiboga samples in the 101
cfu/g range while none were detected from other regions’ samples. Yeasts and molds were detected in the 102
cfu/g range. Staphylococcus aureus
was detected only in butter samples from Kiboga region (102
cfu/g) while Salmonella was not detected in any of the samples. The fatty acid profile consisted of saturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, trans-fatty acids, omega 3 fatty acids, omega 6 fatty acids, and omega 9 fatty acids. Saturated fatty acids were most dominant in the butter and ghee samples ranging from 70-82% whereas trans-fatty acids were present in the least concentration. From the overall acceptability dimension, the butter/ghee made using traditional churning and the new device scored the highest. However, Student’s t
-test analysis showed no significant difference in the organoleptic parameters analyzed in all the samples (p>0.05). Therefore, the butter/ghee produced using mechanized churning is as acceptable and as microbiologically safe as butter/ghee produced using traditional churning and two representative marketed products.