February 7, 2017 3:50:46 am
The increase in cases of food borne illnesses related to street-vended fruit salad in developing countries is of serious public health concern. Ready-to-eat salads are considered as a high-risk food because they do not require any heating, washing or cleaning prior to consumption. A study was conducted by the Lords Universal College, which collected samples from ten local markets in Mumbai. The study revealed high microbial load in the fruit salad. The microbial contaminants consist of comprising different pathogens such as Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus cereus, Salmonella sp., and Pseudomonas sp.
The presence of these organisms can be linked to a number of factors such as improper handling and processing, use of contaminated water during washing, cross contamination from other fruits and vegetables or the use of dirty processing utensils like knives and trays. Isolated species of bacteria which include Bacillus spp, Salmonella spp and Escherichia coli from street- vended foods and the presence of these organisms were thought to be as a result of inappropriate processing.
The present study revealed bacterial contamination in street-vended fruit chaats. Handling practices carried out by street vendors and the prevailing conditions in which these products are displayed is the main cause of contamination. The levels of contamination clearly suggested the potential risk of food borne out-breaks. “Since no international or local standards exist in the country, standardisation of health and safety status of such products must be arbitrated by appropriate regulatory authorities which can minimise the risk of bacterial diseases to a great extent,” said the report.
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