The aim of this study was evaluation of external and internal microbiological quality of fresh grapes (vitis vinifera) on the Ghanaian market. Microbial quality was determined by enumerating aerobic mesophiles and detections for specific microorganisms, such as Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella typhimurium. In all, twenty four samples were analysed for both external and internal investigations, and were conducted for four consecutive batches at weekly intervals. Results obtained from microbiological examination showed detections of mesophiles and Staphylococcus aureus indicating non- compliance with Ghana Standards Specification for fresh fruits and vegetables, which reports 1x103CFU/g for TVC and 1x102CFU/g for Staphylococcus aureus. The results for Escherichia coli and Salmonella tyhpimurium was compliance with Ghana Standards Specifications which reports 1x102CFU/g for E. coli and complete absence of S. tyhpimurium. The study concludes that, the TVC results which indicate that, the grapes contain large bacterial load, might be contributed from the different sources such as from, the pre-warehousing, harvesting and poor handling practice at the post-harvest activities. Also the significant relationship between the presence of Staphylococcus aureus load externally on the grapes and the retail source of collection indicates poor hygienic practice, which may be because the handlers do not use gloves, hair net, etc. The absence of Escherichia coli and Salmonella typhimurium also show that fresh grapes are free from feacal contamination which is very commendable. The study also recommended that, authorities who supervise the growth of food crops safety and public health should endeavor to check, the various stages of fruit processing to ensure they are in conformity with best practices. Also vendors should be educated on personal hygiene and how to relate it to the handling of fruits crops before bringing them to their various places of sales.

1.1 Background of the Study
Ready-to-eat (RTE) foods have been identified as any edible that is mostly eaten in its raw state, WHO (2004). In addition, Maffei et al. (2013) implied that fresh crops are very critical in human diet, which makes it health stimulant. The antioxidant composed in fresh crops in particular, has the effectiveness of shielding the human cells from the occurrence of free radicals, which results in etiopathogenesis of most chronic diseases, Jeong et al. (2006) and Carlsen et al. (2010).

From Hanson et al. (2012), foodborne diseases are paramount in producing considerable disease and mortality annually, while Fratamico et al. (2005) further implicated this assertion in their study by stating that, the occurrence rate of foodborne diseases is on the ascendency and that industrialized countries suffer yearly from infected food caused by variety of microorganism. Whereas in the developing countries, are disadvantaged as a result of over population, poverty, poor environmental conditions and insufficient hygiene generally. Cruickshank et al. (1990) held the view that beside the advantage of fresh crops, it is viewed as high-risk foods because they do not require any processing before to eating. The intervention of much better diagnostic systems and control measures has promoted the development of confirming ready-to-eat foods as a source of foodborne disease Seow et al. (2012).

Poorna and Randhir (2001) also outlined some reasons that place the microbiological quality of ready-to-eat foods at a high risk level as follows; the use of waste water for watering the plants, food handlers not practicing personal hygiene, unhygienic storage and processing areas and the use of dirty containers. Food borne illness from ready to eat food is of increasing worry, since microbial contamination can occur during any of the steps in the farm, not forgetting both animal and human factors, (European Commission Health and Consumer Protection Directorate- General, 2002; Baker-Reid et al. 2009). Bacteria and fungi present on crop plant during its progressive stages, are mainly not dangerous and mostly, act as an actual life protector to any plague by the groups of disease –causing agents answerable for food crops spoilage, (Janisiewicz and Korsten 2002; Andrews and Harris 2000).

Eckert and Ogawa(1988) stated that, spoilage microorganisms present on crop are more likely to occur during the various stages of development to the postharvest handling of the crops, also the soil spoilage microbes present at the time of harvest can show up on harvesting tools, handling materials in the packinghouse, the storage facility in the distribution chain. Consequently, effective steps must be taken early at the growth and harvesting stages through the use of recommended agricultural activities, as it contributes in reducing yield loss due to contamination at the different stages in the farm.

Burnett and Beuchat, (2001)in highlighting the essential role of fresh crops, also maintained that, mostly microbiological risk is associated with, harvesting, distribution, and commercialization. This makes it very prudent to put up steps to mitigate these risks. Foodborne bacterial pathogens usually associated with fresh crops were identified as follows: coliform bacteria, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella sp.Tambekar and Mundhada (2006)

1.2 Statement of Problem
Poorna and Randhir (2001) postulates that, spoilage microbes are normal means by which human beings become contaminated and that microbiological risk assessment is the only mechanism for evaluating food security as well as safety among water supplies. As a result, to the fact that, fresh crops play a very nutritional role in the human body and it’s very assessable from the grocery shops and from street vendors, which gives the concern to pay particular attention to how these crops are handled among the various vendors as well. According to the (WHO 2013) most countries reported that inadequate inspection personnel, to ensure that, basic standards in food safety practice are adhered to and also registration, education and health examinations were not part of the mechanisms use to monitor the safety of street vended foods. Therefore, the gap the study seeks to fill is to evaluate the microbiological quality of grapes sold both by some selected street vendors and grocery shops in the Greater Accra Metropolis, in line with promoting food safety among ready-to-eat food and also examine the knowledge on food safety practices.

1.3 Research Questions
The study is organized on the following formulated questions:

What are the potential external and internal harmful microorganisms associated with fresh grapes on the Ghanaian market?

What is the microbiological quality of fresh grapes on the Ghanaian market?

What are the measures put in place to reduce the microbiological risk of fresh grapes on the Ghanaian market?

1.4 Research Objective
The main objective of this study is to evaluate the external and internal microbiological quality of fresh grapes on the Ghanaian market.

1.5 Specific Objectives
To examine the potential external and internal harmful microorganisms such as Salmonella typhimurium, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and Mesophilic bacteria associated with fresh grapes on the Ghanaian market.

To evaluate Salmonella tyhpimurium, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and Mesophilic bacteria using Triple Sugar Iron Agar, Baird Parker Rabbit Plasma Fibrinogen Agar and Tryptone-bileglucoronic medium respectively on the Ghanaian market.

Assess the measures put in place to reduce the microbiological risk of fresh grapes on the Ghanaian market.

Suggest ways of improving the microbiological quality of fresh grapes.

1.6 Significance of the Study
To start with, given the nutritional benefits of ready-to-eat food in the human body, it is therefore very imperative that the microbiological qualities of such foods are not undermined. This study is therefore relevant as it seeks to examine the external and internal microbiological quality of fresh grapes on the Ghanaian market, in order to help explore the full nutritional value of the crop.

Secondly, this study will help examine the microbiological risk associated with the grapes on the market and as well make suggestions in minimizing such risks on which can be harmful to the human body, as they also form the basis of infections in the human’s body.

Thirdly, the study will also to add up to the store of knowledge with respect to literature on the external and internal microbiological quality of fresh grapes.

1.7 Scope of the Study
The study will be restricted to Greater Accra region, which is made up two (2) Metropolis, nine

Municipal Assemblies and five (5) districts. The choice of the Greater Accra as the study area becomes important because its jurisdiction lies in a densely populated part of Accra and as a result issues of sanitation and food safety is important for human survival. From the purpose of the study to evaluate the microbiological quality of ready-to-eat foods, primary data from both street vendors and grocery shops who sell fresh grapes. Thus, the study will cover both grapes sold in the grocery shop and by street vendors.

1.8 Organization of Chapters
The study is organized in these five chapters.

Chapter One presents the introduction, and address the background of the study, statement of the problem, objectives of the study, research questions, significance of the study, scope of the study, and organization of the study.

Chapter Two is devoted to the review of pertinent literature and presentation of the conceptual framework of the study.

Chapter Three addresses the methodology which describes the profile of the study area, addresses the research design, study population, sampling procedure and sample size, data instrument, data collection and ethical considerations.

Chapter Four presents the data analysis and, finally, Chapter Five presents the summary of findings, conclusions and recommendations.

Chapter five (5) gives a summary of the major findings of the study, conclusions drawn from the study and recommendations.

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Item Type: Ghanaian Topic  |  Size: 55 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.


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