Bacterial Contamination of Selected Fruits, Fresh Juice Contact Surfaces and Processor’s Hands: Potential Risk for Consumers’ Health in Uganda

Author(s): Phoebe P Kaddumukasa, Samuel M Imathiu, Julius M Mathara, Jesca L Nakavuma

A cross sectional study to assess bacteriological safety of 60 fruits, 85 juice contact surfaces and 30 hands was carried out in Kampala, Uganda. Sampling was done according to ISO 18593. Mean aerobic plate counts of 8.3, 8.6 and 8.5 log10CFU/cm² on passion, mango and pineapple fruit surfaces respectively, were obtained. Juice dispensers, refrigerators and hands had mean aerobic plate counts of 5.6, 5.9 and 7 log10 CFU/cm² respectively. Mean coliform counts of 4, 3.9 and 3.7 log10 CFU/cm² were observed for dispenser, refrigerator and hands respectively. Mean S. aureus count of 5 log10 CFU/cm2 and range from no detection to 6.8 log10 CFU/cm2 was observed for dispenser surfaces. Thirty-eight (56.7%), n=67 refrigerators were contaminated with S. aureus above the detection limit. Eighteen (60%), of 30 hand samples were contaminated with S. aureus above the detection limit. Staphylococcus aureus was the most prevalent pathogen while Salmonella and Listeria spp were absent from all samples. One (6.7%) out of 15 coagulase positive isolates was positive for the mecA gene. These findings show that fruit, fresh juice contact surfaces and hands can be potential vehicles through which bacterial contamination could occur in fresh juices. There is therefore great need to emphasize stringent hygiene and use of good manufacturing practices to ensure production of microbiologically safe products.

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