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Table of Contents
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 81-86

A microbial study on water used by street food vendors and microbial flora found on their hands, in a densely populated urban area of Vadodara, Gujarat


1 3rd year MBBS student, SBKS Medical Institute & Research Centre, Sumandeep Vidyapeeth, Piparia, Waghodia, Vadodara, Gujarat, India
2 Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology, Parul Institute of Medical Sciences & Research, Parul University, Limda, Waghodia, Vadodara, Gujarat, India

Date of Web Publication31-Aug-2018

Correspondence Address:
Krunal Kiritbhai Shah
Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology, Parul Institute of Medical Sciences & Research, Parul University, Limda, Waghodia, Vadodara, Gujarat
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2347-6486.240251

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  Abstract 


Introduction: Street vended food is not only appreciated for their unique flavours, convenience and the role which they play in the cultural and social heritage of societies, it also becomes important and essential for maintaining nutritional status of populations.
Method: Vendors were chosen randomly for obtaining various samples. Samples were taken after informed consent. Sterile swabs were used to collect sample from the palms, fingers and area between fingers from both the hands of the individuals preparing or contacting the food. Water samples were collected in sterile containers using aseptic precautions. Samples were inoculated on suitable culture media and subjected for identification after obtaining growth.
Result: Total of 14 water samples and 28 swabs were collected from 14 different street vendors. Average of 1100 cfu/ml of water sample was isolated. Organisms isolated from water samples were Pseudomonas spp. E coli and Klebsiella. From the swabs taken from both the hands, major organism isolated was Coagulase negative staphylococci followed by Staphylococcus aureus and E coli.
Conclusion: Quality of food offered by street vendors directly affects the health of a person and population in general. Our study shows poor quality of hand hygiene maintained by street vendors as well as poor quality of water used for preparation of food, which may affect quality of food provided.

Keywords: food quality, hand hygiene


How to cite this article:
Shrimali VV, Shah KK. A microbial study on water used by street food vendors and microbial flora found on their hands, in a densely populated urban area of Vadodara, Gujarat. J Integr Health Sci 2017;5:81-6

How to cite this URL:
Shrimali VV, Shah KK. A microbial study on water used by street food vendors and microbial flora found on their hands, in a densely populated urban area of Vadodara, Gujarat. J Integr Health Sci [serial online] 2017 [cited 2019 Jun 19];5:81-6. Available from: http://www.jihs.in/text.asp?2017/5/2/81/240251




  Introduction Top


Street food, which has become a sort of cultural phenomenon and identity of the specific area it comes from, owing to the mass globalization brought upon by the internet, which has lead to overwhelming increase in the popularity and appeal of such “on demand” foods.

Food borne illness is a major international health problem and an important cause of reduced economic growth.[1]

Relatively large proportion of ready to eat food is sold in streets in developing countries.[2] India, being a developing country accounts for both the explosive increase in people eating street food and unsatisfactory conditions regarding said food.

Street vended food is not only appreciated for their unique flavors, convenience and the role which they play in the cultural and social heritage of societies, it also becomes important and essential for maintaining nutritional status of populations.[3]

Street foods are ready-to-eat (RTE) foods and beverages prepared on the street and sold along the streets by vendors and hawkers or prepared at home, transported from home and consumed on the streets without further processing.

These foods are now popular in the developing countries due to economic changes, population growth and urbanization. However, there are a number of factors that can result in food borne diseases; these may include failure to cook food thoroughly, holding food at ambient temperature optimal for bacterial growth, poor handling, storage and transportation of cooked foods, lack of hygienic practices, among others.

The water used in preparing such food often comes from unreliable sources and/or storages. Similarly unnoticed is the importance of the hand hygiene of the vendors who prepare, handle and dispense such foods, which obviously plays a huge role in the contamination and the resulting community acquired infections.

Hence, these two huge and neglected contributors in the epidemiology of street food borne diseases are chosen in this study, and henceforth all discussion has been concentrated on these topics.

Aim

To Assess hand hygiene of street vendors and Quality of water used for preparation of food by street vendors

Objectives

  1. To collect samples of water used by street food vendors
  2. To collect swabs from the hands of the vendors
  3. To isolate and identify microorganisms found in the samples.



  Methodology Top


Study design: This study was a cross sectional study assessing quality of hand hygiene and water used for preparing food by street vendors.

Study population:

Adult street vendors and/or personnel in food stalls of street foods including chaats (panipuri, bhel, puff and related foods), vendors operations on lorries and vendor selling water-based foodstuffs.

Inclusion criteria:

Vendors present in the area and giving informed consent for collection of sample.

Exclusion criteria:

Vendors not giving informed consent for collection of sample.

The confidentiality of the records of all the participants has been maintained.

Ethical consideration:

The study was commenced only after getting approval from Institutional Ethics Committee.

Sample collection and processing:

A specific area with suitable number of street food vendors was selected in a densely populated urban part of the city. Vendors were chosen randomly for obtaining various samples. Vendors were explained the purpose of the study and its implications. Samples were taken after informed consent. Sterile swabs were used to collect sample from the palms, fingers and area between fingers from the individuals preparing or contacting the food. Water samples from containers used to store water for food preparation were collected in sterile containers using aseptic precautions. The samples were transported to the Clinical Microbiology laboratory under aseptic condition.

Samples were inoculated on Blood agar, MacConkey agar, and Nutrient agar for swabs taken from hands of vendors and on MacConkey agar for water samples and incubated at 37°C temperature for 24 to 48 hours.

Water samples were inoculated by preparing 5 different serial dilutions for each water sample. Dilutions were 0.1 ml, 0.2 ml, 0.4 ml, 0.8 ml and 1.0 ml. Organisms were identified by using various biochemical tests like catalase, Oxidase, Indole, MR, TSI, Citrate, PPA, Urease, Sugar tests.

Statistical analysis:

Statistical analysis was done using MS Excel software.


  Results Top


Total of 36 water samples and 72 swab samples from both hands were taken from 36 different street vendors.

All the water samples and almost all swab samples showed growth of bacteria.

Organisms isolated from water samples were Pseudomonas spp, E coli, Klebsiella, etc. Organisms isolated from right and left hand swabs were Coagulase negative staphylococcus, Staphylococcus aureus, e coli, etc.

From 36 water samples more than one organism is isolated. Out of 72 swab samples 68 samples were having more than one organism isolated.

Most common organisms isolated as mix growth are Coagulase negative staphylococcus and Pseudomonas spp.

[Table 1] shows that main organism isolated from water samples is pseudomonas spp followed by E coli, Kelbsiella and Acinetobacter.
Table 1: Shows Organism Isolated and their Percentage from Water Samples.

Click here to view


[Table 2] shows that main organism isolated from right hand is Coagulase negative staphylococci (58.33%) followed by Staphylococcus aureus Scientific Name Search  (47.22%), E coli (11.11 %) and Enterococcus (8.33%).
Table 2: Shows Organism Isolated and their Percentage from Swabs Collected from Right Hand

Click here to view


[Table 3] shows that main organism isolated from right hand is Coagulase negative staphylococci (47.22%) followed by Staphylococcus aureus (36.11%), E coli (19.44 %), Pseudomonas (8.33%) and Enterococcus (2.77%).
Table 3: Shows Organism Isolated and their Percentage from Swabs Collected from Left Hand

Click here to view
Figure 1: Shows Distribution of Average Number of CFU/ml of Water

Click here to view



  Discussion Top


The hygiene of street food is always under maintained by vendors. Flies and mosquitoes are flying nearby. For washing soiled dishes, for preparing food or for hand washing water from same bucket is used.

The global burden of infectious diarrhoea involves 3-5 billion cases and nearly 1.5 million deaths annually, mainly in young children, due to diarrhoeal disease caused by contaminated food and water.[5]

Street foods have been reported to be contaminated with pathogens and have also been implicated in food-borne epidemics. It was found that in most localities, the street foods remain hygienically poor since bacterial loads are moderately high. Street foods like panipuri, bhelpuri and chaats are cheap, readily available and appeal to the taste of common people in India, though they may be deficient in nutritive value. Selection of street foods is based on taste, price and last on nutritional quality.[6]

The vendors can be carriers of pathogens like E. coli,  Salmonella More Details, Shigella, Campylobacter and S. aureus who eventually transfer these food borne hazards to consumers. In most cases, running water is not available at vending sites; hands and utensils washing are usually done in one or more buckets, and sometimes without soap. Wastewaters and garbage is discarded nearby, providing nutrients for insects and rodents, which may carry food borne pathogens.[7]

The serving utensils used at the vending site are often contaminated with Staphylococcus sp. which may have originated from the vendors hands when they touch the food preparation areas, dish clothes and the water during dish washing and hand washing which indicates cross contamination between dish water, food preparation surfaces, and the food itself; consequently, perceive a major public health risk.[8],[9]

A general lack of factual knowledge about the epidemiological significance of many street vended foods, poor knowledge of street vendors in basic food safety measures and inadequate public awareness of hazards posed by certain foods has severely hampered the deployment of a precise scientific approach to this very serious problem.[10]

Food hawkers in India are generally unaware of food regulations and have no training in food- related matters. They also lack supportive services such as water supply of adequate quality and rubbish disposal systems, which hamper their ability to provide safe food.[11]

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a common environmental microorganism and can be found in faeces, soil, water and sewage. It can multiply in water environments and also on the surface of suitable organic materials in contact with water. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is not a normal component of the natural flora of natural mineral waters. Its presence is considered as an indicator of contamination of the water at source or during the packaging process.[12]

In countries where urbanization is going on along with low income work, unemployment and poverty, street food is more prevalent. There are so many benefits to street vendors like money in cash, evasion from tax, no need for investing in land or property. Hygiene of the place where street food is sold is also not properly maintained. There is no availability of proper water source. Half eaten and used dishes as well as hands are washed from same bucket of water. Flies and mosquitoes are prevalent at these places.

Tambekar D.H et al[7] had isolated  Escherichia More Details coli (40%), followed by Pseudomonas aeruginosa (25%), Salmonella spp. (16%), Proteus spp. (9%), Staphylococcus aureus (6%), Klebsiella spp. (3%) and Enterobacter spp. (1%) from various fruit and vegetable juices which may have been transmitted from hand or water contamination. Our study is having similar percentages of organisms isolated from hand and water samples.

In another study by Ankur Titarmare et al” it was shown that the total viable count in all the fruit and vegetable samples were in the range of 2.0x104– 4.6x106. They have given emphasis on isolation of E coli, Salmonella and Staphylococcus aureus.

Our study shows counts from various water samples in range from 700 to 1500 and also similar kind of organisms like E coli and Staphylococcus aureus are isolated from present study.

In a study by Patience Mensah et al[9] they isolated Staphylococcus aureus (31.9%) and Enterobacteriaceae (33.7%) from various types of food.

A study by Steven Taulo et al[13] showed 35% of the food samples contaminated with one or more pathogens; with E. coli 48% and S aureus 61% which is similar to our study.

E. coli was detected in 13% of food samples, in 36% of dish water samples and Staphylococcus aureus in 3% of the samples in the study conducted by Mosupye FM.[14]

As per the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Vibrio cholera should be absent in all kind of food products. As for E coli it should be less than 10 per gram of food products. Water should not contain any of the above mentioned organisms.[15]

Limitations: Our study was focused on the hand hygiene and water used for preparation of food by street vendors. Our study is having limitation of not collecting data on food quality offered by street vendors.


  Conclusion Top


Quality of food offered by street vendors directly affects the health of a person and population in general. Hand hygiene and quality of water used for food preparation may lead to poor quality of food and outbreaks of food poisoning. Our study shows poor quality of hand hygiene maintained by street vendors as well as poor quality of water used for preparation of food, which may affect quality of food provided. It should be monitored and regularized by competent authority to maintain good health of general population.


  Acknowledgement Top


We acknowledge ICMR-STS for supporting this research project. The study was accepted and successfully completed as ICMR-STS 2016. We also acknowledge Department of microbiology, SBKS MI & RC, Sumandeep Vidyapeeth for their support in conducting this research.



 
  References Top

1.
World Health Organization. The role of food safety in health and development. Report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Safety. Geneva: World Health Organization; 1983.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Patience Mensah, Dorothy Yeboah-Manu, Kwaku Owusu-Darko, Anthony Ablordey. Street foods in Accra, Ghana: how safe are they? Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2002, 80 (7) page 546-554.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Dardano C. Carribbean regional working group on street food vendors. Report of FAO, PAHO and BNSI. 2003. (Online)Available: ftp:ftp.fao.org/es/esn/food/carribean_report. pdf  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Betty A. Forbes, Daniel F. Sahm, Alice S, Weissfeld. Bailey & Scott's Diagnostic Microbiology. 12th Ed, 216-247  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
CD alert, Monthly Newsletter of National Centre for Disease Control, Directorate General of Health Services, Government of India, March 2017. http://www.ncdc.gov.in/writereaddata/linkimages/cdalert03175347761127.pdf  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Bhat, R.V. and K. Waghray, 2000. Profile of street foods sold in Asian countries. World Rev. Nutr. Diet., 86: 53-99.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Tambekar DH, Murhekar SM, Dhanorkar DV, Gulhane PB, and Dudhane MN. Quality and safety of street vended fruit juices: a case study of Amravati city, India. Journal of Applied Biosciences. 2009.14: 782-787  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Das A, Nagananda GS, Bhatacharya S, and Bharadwaj S. 2010. Microbiological quality of street vended Indian chaats sold in Bangalore. Journal of Biological Sciences. 10: 255-260.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Mensah P, Manu DY, Darko KO, and Ablordey A. Streets foods in Accra, Ghana: how safe are they? Bulletin of World Health Organization. 2002. 80(7): 546-554.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Rane S. 2011. Street vended food in developing world: Hazard analysis. Indian Journal of Microbiology. 51(1): 100-106  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.
Titarmare A, Dabholkar P, and Godbole S. 2009. Bacteriological analysis of street vended fresh fruit and vegetable juices in Nagpur city, India. Internet Journal of Food Safety. 11: 1-3.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
12.
Codex, 2011. Code of Hygienic Practice for Collecting, Processing and Marketing of Natural Mineral Waters (CAC/RCP 33-1985, revised 2011).http://www.codexalimentarius.net/download/standards/224/CXP_033e.pdf  Back to cited text no. 12
    
13.
Steven Taulo, Anne Wetlesen , Roger Abrahamsen , Grant Kululanga , Rajab Mkakosya , Anthony Grimason , Microbiological hazard identification and exposure assessment of food prepared and served in rural households of Lungwena, Malawi, International Journal of Food Microbiology 125 (2008) 111–116  Back to cited text no. 13
    
14.
Mosupye FM, von Holy A. Microbiological hazard identification and exposure assessment of street food vending in Johannesburg, South Africa. Int J Food Microbiol. 2000 Nov 1;61(2-3):137-45  Back to cited text no. 14
    
15.
Food safety and standards (food products standards and food additives) regulations, 2011. http://www.fssai.gov.in/home/fss-legislation/fss-regulations.html.  Back to cited text no. 15
    


    Figures

  [Figure 1]
 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]



 

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Abstract
Introduction
Methodology
Results
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Acknowledgement
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