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African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development

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Bacteriological quality of sachet water produced and sold in Teshie-Nungua suburbs of Accra, Ghana

KK Addo, GI Mensah, M Bekoe, C Bonsu, ML Akyeh

Abstract


Access to good quality drinking water is a challenge in most towns and cities in Ghana and households have for years depended on other sources of water to supplement their activities. The introduction of sachet water to consumers was to provide safe, hygienic and affordable instant drinking water to the public. Although this is a laudable idea, current trends seem to suggest that sachet drinking water could be a route of transmission of diseases. The objective of this study was to determine the bacteriological quality of sachet water popularly known as “pure water” produced and sold in the Teshie-Nungua suburbs of Accra, Ghana, one of the areas with
perennial water shortage forcing inhabitants to depend on sachet water as a source of drinking water. Using simple random sampling procedures, 30 samples from 10 brands of sachet water were collected from hawkers/vendors in Teshie-Nungua (3 samples per brand). One sachet water sample was taken from each site every fortnight for six weeks in May-June 2007. The samples were analyzed using multiple tube
method and biochemical assays. Results were recorded as Most Probable Number (MPN) of coliform per 100ml of water. The bacteriological quality of the samples was assessed based on the World Health Organization (WHO) classification system for drinking water. Five (16.7 %) of the samples were Excellent, 5 (16.7%) were Satisfactory, 9 (30%) were Suspicious and 11 (36.7%) were Unsatisfactory using the MPN values recorded. Six samples were contaminated with faecal coliform and two of these, (P1 and P2) were from the same brand. Escherichia coli was also detected in the two samples (P1 and P2) out of three samples from the same brand. The level of
contamination could be due to inadequate treatment of water samples by the producers, improper use of filters or post-production contamination. The findings suggest the need to enforce the laws that govern the operation of such production outfits as well as educating consumers on the need to purchase sachet water from manufacturers that have been licensed to produce water and whose product bears the stamp of the Food and Drugs Board of Ghana.



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