Sanitation, hygiene and bacterial contamination of highway-market vended meats in Uganda: Case study of Najembe and Lukaya markets
Karumuna, R. Bem
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Sanitation and hygiene of food vending markets has influence on contamination of food with food-borne hazards which affects food safety leading to out-break of food-borne illnesses. This study aimed to assess the sanitation and hygiene facilities and practices for highway vendors of ready-to-eat meat against recommended conditions; and determine the status of microbiological contamination of vended highway meats against internationally recommended Microbial Contaminant Limits (MCLs). The sanitation and hygiene facilities of 41 meat stalls; and practices of 180 meat vendors selected at two of the highway markets (Lukaya and Najembe) were assessed against recommended best practices using checklists with scores; and the questionnaires. Sixty (60) samples of meat products (chicken, beef and goat meat) were taken from Najembe and Lukaya markets during dry and wet seasons. The bacteria that are used as indicators for status of sanitation and hygiene were isolated in the meat products. ISO standard methods were used in the laboratory to test for presence of coliforms, Escherichia Coli and Staphylococcus aureus. Results were compared with the recommended MCL. A scale of 0-4 was used to assess the conformity of sanitation and hygiene facilities. On average the facilities scored below 2, denoting low conformity to recommended conditions. The overall score of sanitation facilities was 1.51 and hygiene facilities scored 1.36. Chicken facilities had the lowest scores. The scores were not significantly different for the three products (p>0.05). The facilities at Lukaya market had slightly higher scores than those at Najembe market because of the recent renovation at Lukaya. Overall, 74.1% of the vendors were not implementing proper sanitation and hygiene practices, Lukaya being the most affected, which was attributed to low awareness. Most of the samples tested (68.3%) exceeded the recommended MCLs. Contamination was mainly from Staphylococcus aureus (81.7%). Escherichia Coli was found in 43% of the samples. Chicken samples were the most contaminated. Samples obtained from Lukaya market were more contaminated perhaps due to poor personal hygiene practices. The meat samples taken during the wet season were slightly more contaminated (48%) than those taken during the dry season (45%). The poor sanitary and hygiene conditions were responsible for the contamination of ready-to-eat meat products. Installation of better sanitation and hygiene facilities, training and regular monitoring of vendors are required to ensure the safety of highway vended meat.