RESEARCH ARTICLE


Microbial Load and the Prevalence of Escherichia coli, Salmonella spp. and Listeria spp. in Ready-to-Eat Products in Trinidad



A. Hosein, K. Muñoz, K. Sawh, A. Adesiyun*
School of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies.


© 2008 Hosein et al.;

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode. This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the School of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies; E-mail: aadesiyun@gmail.com


Abstract

This study was designed to determine the prevalence and microbial load of Listeria spp., Escherichia coli O157 and Salmonella spp. in ready-to-eat products in supermarkets across Trinidad. The microbial load was assessed using the total aerobic plate count (TAPC) per g/ml of foods and prevalence of Escherichia coli O157 and Salmonella spp. determined using conventional methods. For Listeria monocytogenes, immunomagnetic separation (IMS), TECRA (enzymelinked immunosorbent assay, ELISA) and conventional methods were used. The log10 mean ± sd TAPC per g or ml was highest for vegetables (11.0±11.6), and lowest for seafood (5.2±5.7) (p < 0.05). The prevalence of L. monocytogenes was 1.7 %. Sixteen (4.5%) of 153 samples yielded E. coli but all samples were negative for Salmonella spp. and E. coli O157. The high microbial load and isolation of L. monocytogenes and E. coli from popular RTE foods could pose a health risk to consumers in the country.