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A survey of ethnic foods for microbial quality and content aflatoxin

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A range of ethnic foods was examined for their microbiological content in relation to total viable counts (TVC) of aerobic bacteria, counts of presumptive coliforms, yeast and mould counts; presence of Salmonella spp., Listeria monocytogenes, Escherichia coli 0157:H7 and Campylobacter spp.; total enumeration of Clostridium perfringens, Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus spp.; identification of moulds and the presence of total aflatoxins. Samples, which included cereals, nuts, dried fruits, herbs and spices, were obtained from local retail outlets and distributors. It was established that three samples of pistachio nuts contained significant levels of aflatoxins. The concentration of total aflatoxins in these three nut samples ranged from 15 to 259 mu g/kg of sample. Only two other samples contained trace amounts of aflatoxins, all other samples analysed were found to be free of any detectable level of aflatoxins. TVCs, coliform counts and yeast and mould counts varied widely depending on the matrix tested. Generally, rice, wheat and peanuts produced low counts whereas other nuts, gram flour and spices produced much higher counts. Cl. perfringens, Staph. aureus , and Bacillus spp. were common in spices, nuts and gram flour, however, Listeria monocytogenes was only detected in four samples and in no sample could Salmonella spp, E. coli 0157:H7 or Campylobacter spp. be detected.
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Keywords: AFLATOXIN; ETHNIC FOODS; MICROBIOLOGICAL SURVEY

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, G4 OBA, UK 2: Department of Bioscience and Biotechnology, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, G1 1XW, UK 3: Protective Services, Glasgow City Council, 20 India St, Glasgow, G2 4PH, UK 4: Department of Public Health, Greater Glasgow Health Board, Dalian House, 350 St Vincent St, Glasgow, G3 8YU , UK

Publication date: February 1, 2001

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