Microbial safety of locally produced spices in Uganda
Bitira, Lelia Majorie
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Despite the numerous benefits of spices, it has been recognized that they can be a source of foodborne illnesses that can majorly result from poor hygiene practices and unsanitary conditions. The main objective of the study was to assess the microbial contamination of locally produced spices sold in Kampala markets. Thirty samples of three spices (ginger, turmeric and cinnamon) were purchased from different vendors in Nakasero, Kalerwe and Nakawa markets. The samples were tested for total aerobic bacteria, E. coli and yeasts and mould as specified by Uganda National Bureau of Standards. Data collected was analyzed using Excel and expressed as colony forming units/gram. The highest mean of bacterial load counts of 2.9x108 cfu/g was observed in spice samples. E. coli counts ranged from 0 to 2.6x106 cfu/g in all spices. Yeast and molds counts varied from 5.0x102 cfu/g to 3.2x106 cfu/g all the samples. The presence E. coli indicates contamination with fecal matter hence poor manufacturing practices. All spices had microbial mean values higher than the maximum limits as stipulated in the Uganda National Bureau of Standards thus not complying with the standards. There is need to undertake surveillance of the cropping small scale industries producing spices so that they comply with the standards. Undertaking training in food safety and good manufacturing practices is thereby recommended.