Quality, Vegetable, Aerobic plate count, coliform index
Some ready to eat leafy vegetables on sale at Sabon-gari market, Zaria were analysed for their bacterial flora and counts. Lettuce had aerobic plate count range of 2.0 x 107 to 5.7 x 108 cfu/g, cabbage had a count range of 1.3 x 107 – 5.6 x 108 cfu/g and cucumber had a range of count of 3.0 x 105 to 1.9 x 106. The coliform index showed lettuce to have a count of 8.8 x 106 – 1.3 x 109,
cabbage was 2.1 x 106 to 8.0 x 107 cfu/g and cucumber was 8.0 x 105 to 1.9 x 106. Bacillus species and Staphylococcus aureus were the predominant bacteria isolated from these vegetables. The counts were obviously above the recommended standards for ready to eat vegetables especially coliforms which should be less than 10 coliform bacteria per gram( FAO, 1979). There is the need for hygiene officials to take interest on what is offered to consumers and specify acceptable handling practices.