Bacterial contaminants and associated risk factors for contamination of ready-to-eat roasted meat vendored at Busunju and Lwamata markets along Hoima-Kampala road
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Roasted ready-to-eat meat sold along routes of transit is source of nourishment to passengers, vendors and people in the neighboring areas. It is a common accepted perception that heat treatment gets rid of microbial contaminants. But the meat may get re-contaminated after heat treatment/roasting when it becomes cool hence can serve as a vehicle transmitting pathogens especially bacteria to the consumers. This study was aimed at detecting indicator bacterial contaminants of ready-to-eat roasted meat sold at Busunju and Lwamata markets along Hoima-Kampala road plus the associated risk factors for contamination. Samples were collected from the vendors of the roasted ready-to-eat meat. Questionnaires and observations were used to determine the associated risk factors for the contamination. Questionnaires were administered to all meat vendors present on the day of sample collection. Standard laboratory procedures were used to detect bacterial growth and two indicator bacterial contaminants, i.e. Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. Bacterial growth was observed on all the samples of meat collected from both sites of study. But at bacterial species level, contamination levels were different for the two study sites i.e. samples collected from Lwamata were more contaminated than those collected from Busunju i.e. Samples from Busunju had 15% positive for E. coli and 25% for S. aureus, while samples from Lwamata 15% tested positive for E. coli and 66.7% for S. aureus.Risk factors that would lead to contamination of the ready-to-eat roasted meat according to the study include; poor personal hygiene; time lag between preparation and consumption; swinging of the meat in open from place to place to lure customers; handling of money while preparing and selling the meat by the same person; coughing or sneezing during meat handling. Therefore, the meat gets bacterial contamination and is capable of causing food borne infections to the consumers. There is need to put and enforce standards that should be followed by the food vendors to carry out a safe-health food trade for health human population.