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Microbiological hazard identification and exposure assessment of food prepared and served in rural households of Lungwena, Malawi

Taulo, S. and Wetlesen, A. and Abrahamsen, R. and Kululanga, G. and Mkakosya, R. and Grimason, A.M. (2008) Microbiological hazard identification and exposure assessment of food prepared and served in rural households of Lungwena, Malawi. International Journal of Food Microbiology, 125 (2). pp. 111-116. ISSN 0168-1605

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Abstract

The presence of food-borne pathogens, Escherichia coli 0157:H7, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella species, Campylobacter jejuni and non-pathogenic E. coli, in 132 home cooked food samples consisting of maize flour porridge (MFP), (n = 41), fish (n = 37), vegetables (n = 28), beans (n = 13) and 'Others' (n = 13), collected from 6 villages in Lungwena, Malawi was investigated. It was found that 35% of the food samples were contaminated with one or more pathogens; with 48%, 8%, 61% and 23% of the food samples being found to harbour E. coli, pathogenic E. coli 0157: H7, S aureus and Salmonella species, respectively. C. jejuni was not detected in any food sample. Using a 95% level of significance, pathogen concentration among food categories demonstrated a statistical difference (p = 0.001). Distribution of pathogens among villages was also found to be significant (p = 0.03). MFP was the most contaminated food. Practices that promote the spread of the pathogens in the rural household kitchens were investigated. Food was thought to be contaminated as a result of poor food handling, preparation and storage practices.