The microorganisms present in raw and pasteurized milk and the sources of contamination in the milk after it had arrived at the processing plant in Addis Ababa were studied. The lowest count registered for raw milk samples was 4 × 107 cfu/ml while the highest was 1 × 109 cfu/ml. Pasteurized milk had mesophilic aerobic counts of 7 × 105 cfu/ml as it left the pasteurizing unit, but the population increased 2- to 4-fold as a result of subsequent contamination. Of the total counts in raw milk, psychrophilic, thermoduric and thermophilic organisms made up 98·l, 1·4 and 0·5% respectively. In pasteurized milk, the amounts were 53·0, 39·5 and 7·5% respectively. Samples of milk pasteurized in the laboratory contained only 74·5% thermoduric and 25·5% thermophilic organisms. The isolates mostly belonged to the genera Bacillus, Streptococcus, Lactobacillus, Arthrobacter, Alcaligenes, Aeromonas and Pseudomonas. Cocci were more predominant than rod-shaped bacteria. Of the rod-shaped bacteria, 73% were Gram-negative. The utensils holding the raw and pasteurized milk and the plastic sheets used for bagging the pasteurized milk contributed unusually high numbers of bacteria which were either thermoduric or thermophilic. More isolates were obtained from the pasteurized than the raw milk. The keeping quality of the pasteurized milk was found to be much lower than that of the laboratory-pasteurized milk.