Contamination of the minnow Rastrineobola argenta, through handling at landing sites and retail markets around Lake Victoria
Background: The quality of fish could be a challenge both locally and internationally as microbial contaminants may result in infections of humans when seafood is handled unhygienically. This is because enteric bacteria such as Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella spp. and Vibrio cholerae are likely to accumulate in fish where low hygienic standards are maintained. Therefore, studies on fish contamination are critical for the acceptance of fish food locally and in international markets.
Objective: To evaluate and compare the microbiological quality of R. argentea at the fish landing sites and local retail markets in Homa Bay County.
Design: Purposive, cross-sectional study.
Setting: Fish landing sites and retail markets in Homa Bay County
Subject: Studies on fish contamination are critical for the acceptance of fish food locally and in international markets. In this study, Rastrineobola argentea were examined for microbial loads.
Results: Samples indicated high levels of coliforms and Escherichia coli in fish. At the landing sites, coliforms ranged from 1.6 x 103 to 4.0 x 103 while E. coli was between 0.8 x101 and 4.8 x 102. In water samples, coliforms ranged between 1.3 x 103 and 1.8x106 / ml whereas E. coli was 1.1x102 to 4.6x101. Personnel hands were found to be contaminated with Salmonella typhimurium and Shigella dysenteriae. The samples from markets had coliform and E. coli at 5.0x104 to 9.0x105 and 2.0x102 to 4.0x102 respectively.
Conclusion: The findings demonstrate that precaution should be taken to improve the hygiene levels along the value chains to ensure that the quality of fish is not compromised.