Escherichia coli and Salmonella spp. in meat in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Introduction: Food-borne pathogens are the leading cause of illness and death in developing countries, killing approximately 1.8 million people annually. In developed countries, food-borne pathogens are responsible for millions of cases of infectious gastrointestinal diseases each year, costing billions of dollars. The objective of this study was to screen for two major food-borne pathogens, Escherichia coli and Salmonella spp., from meat samples obtained from different strata of the consumer market in Jeddah.
Methodology: A total of 60 meat samples, 20 each from large hypermarkets, groceries and small butcher shops were used in the study. Samples were transported to the laboratory in a cooler. They were macerated in peptone water and then seeded on selective media appropriate for each organism. Colonies were identified using conventional microbiological methods and suspected colonies were confirmed as E. coli and Salmonella spp. by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using specific primers.
Results: The results indicated a high degree of contamination in samples from butcher shops as compared to those from groceries or hypermarkets (high scale supermarkets). Both pathogens E. coli and Salmonella spp. were found in higher rates in the samples from butcher shops. In small butcher shops, E. coli was found at an incidence of 65%, and Salmonella at 45%.
Conclusion: The results indicate an urgent need for applying proper food hygienic practices in food outlets, especially in small ones, to reduce the incidence of food-borne diseases. Vigilance by the right agencies must be implemented in order to prevent future food-borne outbreaks.
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