Ethiop J Health Sci 2016 Nov;26(6):533-542
Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences and Pathology, Jimma University, Ethiopia.
Background: Microbial contamination of ready-to-eat foods and beverages sold by street vendors and hawkers has become an important public health issue. In Ethiopia, health risks related to such kinds of foods are thought to be common. Thus, this study has tried to determine the bacteriological quality of ready- to- eat foods sold on streets.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted on street foods in Hawassa City from May to September 2014. A total of 72 samples from six food items such as local bread ('ambasha' and 'kita'), raw fish, chilli ('awaze'), avocado and cooked potato were collected. Bacterial isolation, colony count and antimicrobial susceptibility testing were made following standard microbiological techniques.
Results: About 31% of the food samples showed total colony counts ranging from 1.7×10 to 6.7×10 colony-forming unit per gram (CFU/g) which is beyond the acceptable limits set for microbiological quality of ready- to -eat foods. The mean coliform and Enterobacteriaceae counts in raw fish, 'kita' and 'ambasha' were also higher than the limits. E.coli was the most frequent isolate (29.6%) followed by Salmonella species (12.7% and S.aureus (9.9%). All isolates were 100% sensitive to ciprofloxacin. About 89% of Salmonella sp was resistant to chloramphenicol. Alarmingly, 14.3% of S.aureus was resistant to vancomycin.
Conclusion: This study confirmed considerable rate of contamination in street vended foods in Hawassa City. The identified foodborne bacteria and antibiotic resistance isolates could pose a public health problem in that locality. Therefore, regular inspection, health education and training of vendors on food handling and safety practices are recommended.