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Microbiological quality of “Khebab” consumed in the Accra metropolis

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The study was carried out in 2003 to evaluate the microbial load in “khebab”, meat products from pork, and beef, which are vended in most of the streets and some public drinking places, either with alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks. Osu (Alata), Nima-Kotobabi and Central Accra (Adabraka – very close to the main lorry station), all in the Accra Metropolis, were selected for the investigation. The main reason for the selection of these sites was based on the population density as well as patronage for the khebab. Our main interest for this investigation was to assess the microbial load in khebab as far as enteric pathogen and other pathogenic micro-organisms reported earlier in the raw meat are concerned. Thirty samples of khebab were bought from these sampling points. Results obtained from samples at Osu recorded mean total plate count (TPC) of 5.02, Accra Central samples had TPC of 4.08 and those from Nima had TPC of 4.80 log10 colony-forming units (cfu) per gram of khebab. Samples from Accra Central recorded the highest mean coliform count (5.12) whist samples bought from Osu and Nima recorded 4.41 and 3.70 log10 cfu/g respectively. Accra Central samples again recorded the highest faecal coliforms (4.4 log10 cfu/g) as compared to 3.98 and 3.80 log10 cfu/g for samples bought from Osu and Nima respectively. Salmonella ssp were not isolated from the samples bought at the three sampling sites. Khebab samples from sites were contaminated with E. coli, other gram-negative bacteria and Staphylococcus species, whose virulence factor(s) are yet to be determined. The faecal coliforms enumerated could originate from either humans or the animals slaughtered for the khebab. Staphylococcus species could originate from the vendors. Vendors have to be educated on hygienic practices which could help reduce risks of food-borne infection. Skin disinfection can be done by a thorough wash. Vendors could also be educated to stop selling their products to customers once they have bouts of diarrhoea, vomiting and “fever”. Washing of their hands with soap and water before serving their customers could also help reduce the risk of food-borne infection from eating their products.


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