Size reduction of food commodities and food safety in some Accra markets
AbstractThe objective of this paper is to investigate the food safety and hygienic status after size reduction in some Accra markets, using questionnaire and bacterial samples to validate the questionnaire findings. The primary research was done in the Kaneshie, Makola and Nima markets in Accra. The work involved more than 55 milling machines in these different and affluent markets. The audit form used consisted of a number of questions for each of the 21 respondents chosen at random with a range of
one to three machines, some owning up to 5 machines. In addition to the audit,36 samples of tomatoes were taken before and after milling to assess their microbiological safety and the microbial total load by evaluating the platecount agar (PCA), and Violet Red Bile Glucose (VRBG) for the detection and enumeration of Enterobacteriaceae such as Escherichia coli indicating the presence of potential faecal contamination. All 36 samples from the three markets were relatively microbiologically contaminated. The contamination load increased with the milling time. After size reduction of the foods they came out of the machine more contaminated than they entered. Some foods are subjected to adulteration in the size reduction machine. The results of this study suggest that even though most of the foods are cooked before consumption it is necessary to put in place good manufacturing practice (GMP) which must be followed starting with Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) principles. If this is not done, consumption of such products could lead to serious health hazards especially where they are not cooked enough to eliminate the microbial loads. Disinfection of the machine and the environment will be necessary after each milling session. The products to be milled should be of better microbial quality as well so that the milled product can be safe for consumption. The enforcing agencies and other stakeholders also have a big role to play in terms of awareness and education for the good of the consumer.
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