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The microbiology of Ethiopian foods and beverages: A review

Mogessie Ashenafi


The paper reviews the available literature on the microbiology of traditional Ethiopian foods and beverages. The topic on milk and dairy products deals with the livestock resource of the country with respect to the microbiological quality of raw and processed milk, processing and microbial status of various fermented milks ('Ergo', 'Itutu'), traditional cottage cheese ('Ayib') and microbiological safety of milk and dairy products. Under traditional fermented foods, the microbiology of 'Enjerra' fermentation, 'Kotcho' fermentation and the fermentation of various condiments are discussed. Microbiological safety issues and spoilage of these products are also addressed. Discussion on the microbiology of traditional fermented beverages deals with popular products such as 'Tella', 'Borde' and 'Shamita'. Here, the nutritional and other chemical properties of the products are also presented. Some ready-to-eat foods are discussed with respect to their level of microbial contamination, spoilage and their importance in food-borne diseases. These include different traditional sauces, street foods and weaning foods. Finally, microbial load and safety considerations were addressed with respect to other food products such as beef, fish, vegetables, fruits and fruit juices. In conclusion, the review discusses the nature of food preparation in Ethiopia, food loss due to poor traditional household processing, the extent and limitations of scientific work done so far and suggests some recommendations to curb the problem.

Key words/phrases: Traditional food, beverages, fermentation, spoilage, safety

SINET: Ethiopian Journal of Science Vol.25(1) 2002: 97-140

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2520-7997
print ISSN: 0379-2897