Isolation and Identification of Bacterial Contaminants and the Potential Link between Food Contamination and the Risk Factors in Selected Cooked Street Foods on Mombasa Island
The street food sector has experienced significant growth in the past few decades due to rapid urbanization. Despite the economic benefits of the sector, it has been recognized as a potential hazard to public health when food is not prepared and handled hygienically. The objective of this study was to isolate and identify Bacterial contaminants and establish the potential link between food contamination and the risk factors in selected cooked street foods on Mombasa Island. The study adopted a descriptive survey and experimental design. One hundred vendors were selected using purposive and systematic random sampling. Representative samples of the food items were randomly collected from five vendors in each of the three locations for microbiological analysis. Standard methods from the Bacteriological Analytical Manual of Foods were used to determine coliform counts, total plate counts, and isolate Ecoli and Salmonella strains. One hundred vendors were selected using simple random sampling method. From the census in the area, there were 130 vendors selling these three food items. Sample size was 107 vendors. Questionnaires were administered to vendors. Data analysis was done using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) computer software. Chi-square (χ2) was used to test the relationship between training and various aspects of hygiene. T- Test and Analysis of Variance was used to assess any significant differences between the three areas and between male and female, respectively. The International Commission of Microbiological Specification for Foods standards, (1996), were used to determine the acceptable limits of the bacterial counts in the food items tested. From the study results, Salmonella was detected in 8.9% of the 45 samples analyzed, which were beef samosas. These samples were considered contaminated, as Salmonella should be absent in all food items prepared and sold for consumption. The presence of Salmonella in the beef samosas could have been due to improper food handling or use of leftover foods. Unhygienic practices by some of the vendors, and probably insufficient cooking or reheating of the meat product could have been a contributing factor. This study confirmed the results of others that have identified meat products as being liable to contamination if not well handled.
Keywords: E.Colli, Salmonella, Street food, Bacterial Contaminants, Food Contamination and Mombasa Island.
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