Title: An investigation of the microbiological chain of contamination and health implications of fish products from Lake Chivero, Harare, Zimbabwe

Authors: Francis Manjengwa; P.J. Mukaro; Tamuka Nhiwatiwa

Addresses: Biosciences Department, University of Zimbabwe, P.O. Box MP 167, Mt. Pleasant Harare, Zimbabwe ' Masvingo Polytechnic College, P.O. Box 800, Masvingo, Zimbabwe ' Biosciences Department, University of Zimbabwe, P.O. Box MP 167, Mt. Pleasant Harare, Zimbabwe

Abstract: A study to determine contamination of fish from Lake Chivero was carried out at selected sites along the fish handling and distribution chain. Samples were collected from lake and vending sites in Harare's high density suburbs, in March, August and November 2012. Pathogenic bacteria indicators were used to investigate the quality of water, fish, and fish contact surfaces to determine the levels of contamination. Swabs on contact surfaces and fish samples were tested for total viable bacterial count, coliforms and Salmonella. The highest coliforms load was recorded in fish trading locations and the lowest in the cold chain samples (Table 1). Salmonella sp. was present in most samples except harvest waters (Table 1). Pathogenic indicator micro-organisms were present in lake water samples (Table 1), suggesting that fish may already be contaminated. The increase in microbial load along the fish handling chain showed poor fish handling was causing additional contamination, presenting a health risk to consumers.

Keywords: indicator micro-organisms; cold chain; chain of contamination; total coliforms; faecal coliforms; vending site; swab; polluted lake; pathogenic indicator micro-organisms; handling chain; Zimbabwe.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPTI.2016.10004634

International Journal of Postharvest Technology and Innovation, 2016 Vol.5 No.3, pp.215 - 230

Received: 27 Jun 2014
Accepted: 17 Jul 2015

Published online: 18 Apr 2017 *

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