Friday, 15 April 2011

Poultry products contaminated with harmful bacteria

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: Poultry products available in Hyderabad markets are contaminated with harmful bacteria that could cause severe health complications including life-threatening diseases like pneumonia, meningitis and septicaemia.
A study by the Food and Drug Toxicology Research Centre of the city-based National Institute of Nutrition revealed the presence of bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus cereus and Salmonella species in poultry products served in eateries in different parts of the city.
As many as 240 samples including chicken fried rice, chicken noodles, boiled noodles and boiled rice were collected from Malakpet, Dilsukhnagar and Saidabad (municipal circle I), Begum Bazar and Mangalhat (circle II), Himayatnagar and Narayanguda (circle III) and Secunderabad (circle VII) areas of the city for microbial risk assessment analysis. The samples proved positive indicating the presence of these bacteria.
Staphylococcus species are responsible for simple skin problems like pimples and boils and major health hazards like septicaemia, meningitis, pneumonia, and toxic shock syndrome while B cereus causes heavy nausea, vomiting and loose motions.
A total of 180 consumer survey was done to elicit information on consumption of poultry based street foods. The profile of Hyderabadis who had this type of food indicated that 47.2 per cent of them belong to the age group between 16 and 20 years. The study revealed that 21 per cent or one out of every five consumers had complained that they had symptoms like pain in abdomen, vomiting, diarrhoea after consumption of street foods.
"Reducing S. aureus and B cereus contamination of these poultry products will reduce the risk of food borne disease to consumers. Given the socio-economic importance of street foods, this trend demands actions by authorities and consumers to improve its safety and to prevent harm to public health," the study carried out by V Sudershan Rao, R Naveen Kumar and others suggested.
A significant difference was observed in Bacillus cereus and S. aureus counts isolated from chicken fried rice of circle I, II, III and VII. The count was more in circle 1 when compared with that of circle II, III and VII. Salmonella species was found in salads and hand washings of the food handler. Salmonella bacteria cause diseases like typhoid and paratyphoid.

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