Abstract: Microbial contamination of ready-to-eat foods and beverages sold by street vendors and hawkers has become a global health problem. Street vended chaats like panipuri and bhelpuri sold in almost all the cities throughout India are consumed by huge population of people. The present study was undertaken to investigate the microbiological quality of street foods like panipuri and bhelpuri sold in many parts of Bangalore, India. Eight different samples of these chaats were aseptically collected from four locations of Bangalore City. The samples were analyzed within an hour of procurement. Isolation, enumeration and identification of the prevalent bacteria and fungi were carried out following the standard procedures. Analysis of the food samples revealed high loads of bacterial pathogens such as Streptococcus faecalis, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus sp., Klebsiella sp. and Pseudomonas sp. Total viable counts of bacteria in all the samples varied between 0.4-3.0×104 cfug-1, faecal coliforms between 0.03-0.14×l04 cfug-1 and faecal streptococci between 0.2-11×104cfug-1. Aciduric yeasts like Saccharomyces and filamentous fungi like Mucor and Rhizopus were also encountered. Salmonella and Vibrio cholerae were not detected in any of the samples. The presence of faecal streptococci and coliforms indicated faecal contamination of the processing water as well as the prevailing unhygienic conditions related to the location of the food stalls. It is suggested that regular monitoring of the quality of street foods must be practised to avoid any food-borne pathogenic outbreaks in future.
PDF Available at Journal of Biological Sciences (3): 225-260, 2010
ISSN 1727-3048 / DOI: 10.3923 / jbs.2010.255.260