Microbial analysis of meat and meat products sold in fast food restaurants in Aba, Abia State, Nigeria
The present study was carried out to investigate the rate of microbial contamination of ready-to-eat meat and meat products sold in different fast food restaurants in Aba. This study was carried out between June and August, 2015. Samples were collected aseptically from five fast food restaurants using sterile polythene bags. The samples were collected in the morning and evening hours and each restaurant was sampled six times (morning and evening respectively) for a period of three months. The results obtained showed that meat pie recorded the highest heterotrophic bacterial count ranging from 1.3 × 105 to 3.8 × 105 cfu/g in the morning and 1.8 x 105 to 4.9 x 105cfu/g in the evening. This is followed by fried chicken with heterotrophic bacterial count ranging from 1.0 × 105 to 1.4 × 105cfu/g in the morning and 1.5 x 105 to 3.1 x 105cfu/g in the evening. The total heterotrophic bacterial count is higher in the evening (1.3 x105 to 4.9 x 105cfu/g) than morning (1.0 x 105 to 3.8 x 105cfu/g). The mean coliform and fungal counts also showed that the products sampled in the evening hours were more contaminated than the ones sampled in the morning. All the sampled products were contaminated above the acceptable limit of 103 to <104. The microorganisms isolated include Staphylococccus aureus, Escherichia coli, Enterobacter spp, Bacillus spp, Psuedomonas spp, Proteus spp, Aspergillus spp, Mucor spp and Rhizopus spp. It is recommended that food safety authorities should closely monitor the food products sold in our Fast Food Restaurants to ensure that stale and contaminated food are not sold. They should also ensure that personal and environmental hygiene is maintained.
Keywords: microbial quality, fast food restaurants, meat, meat products