Microbial contamination of homemade Kombucha Tea Beverage consumed cold by residents in Central Ward Mityana Municipality, Mityana District, Uganda
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Kombucha is a fermented, lightly effervescent, sweetened black or green tea drink commonly consumed for its supposed health and nutritional benefits with considerable evidence. It’s a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast among the medicinal mushrooms commonly consumed these days. However during its process of preparation and storage, from raw materials, equipment, preparer could cause contamination of the consumed tea which can lead to food borne diseases. A cross sectional study was conducted to assess the microbial contamination and associated handling practiced of homemade Kombucha tea beverage consumed cold by residents of central ward Mityana municipality in Uganda. A total of 30 Kombucha tea preparers were interviewed followed by collection 0f 30 Kombucha tea samples for laboratory analysis. Physiochemical (pH), bacterial (E coli) and fungal (Aspergillus and Penicillium species) were analyzed. The results showed that pH ranged between 2.5 to 3.6, total plate count of samples ranged between 4.0to759 logCFU/ml. All samples were free from fungal contaminants about 68% of Kombucha tea samples had TPC above recommended maximum levels (5000 to 50000). All samples were negative for E coli. Risk factors for higher TPC which were significantly significant (p<0.05) include gender, source of water for preparation, type of tea used, how water is treated, preparation environment, storage equipment and mode of cleaning of utensils. 80% of the preparation premises were unhygienic and encouraged contamination. It was concluded that the overall preparation and storage of Kombucha tea was unhygienic, and the government has to teach the locals safer methods of preparation of Kombucha Tea, more research studies are recommended to be done to assess more bacterial, fungal and protozoal contamination of Kombucha tea and the government through the food safety organs should closely monitor the quality of Kombucha tea prepared and consumed by residents.