MICROBIAL RISK ASSESSMENT OF FISH ALONG ITS VALUE CHAINS IN KADUNA AND ZARIA METROPOLISES, KADUNA STATE, NIGERIA

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MICROBIAL RISK ASSESSMENT OF FISH ALONG ITS VALUE CHAINS IN KADUNA AND ZARIA METROPOLISES, KADUNA STATE, NIGERIA

Abstract:

Global demand and consumption of fish and fish products have increased tremendously over the last two decades. In Nigeria, a combination of population growth, rising prices of other animal sourced proteins and the growing awareness of the health implications of red meat significantly increased the demand and consumption of fish. Majority of foodborne outbreaks in developed and developing countries are largely related to microbiological hazards notably Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella species. As such, microbial risk assessment of fish along the value chains of Kaduna and Zaria metropolises is important in providing food safety information suitable for public health policy development. To achieve these goals, this thesis examined the microbial burden of fish and fish products traded and processed for consumers and determined the risk factors influencing fish contamination levels. Results of this research identified discrete fish value chains for imported frozen fish distribution and that of locally farmed fish production channels which consisted of key producers, fish traders and fish processors. Almost all the stakeholders in both fish value chains had good food safety knowledge and attitude but poor food safety practices. Fish consumers interviewed in the study had good knowledge but poor attitude particularly their belief that fish safety can be judged by fish smell and appearance (96.5%). Fish consumers in this study had less concern for microbial hazards than chemical hazards (84.2%). The risk factors that influenced fish quality along the entire value chains were re- and cross-contaminations due to lack of personal hygiene such as washing hands before and after handling fish (94.5%), lack of storage and temperature control regulations (62.2%), lack of food safety training (97.3%), poor infrastructural development (100%) and poor environmental sanitation (100%). Results from this study indicated high percentages of unsafe fish handled from fish farms (93.3%), fish markets (73.4%) and fish processing units (64.9%) due to high aerobic plate counts. Similarly, fish samples collected from fish farms (37.8%), fish markets (68.7%) and fish processing units (8.1%) were categorized as unsafe for human consumption due to high coliform counts. An isolation rate of 15.1% for S. aureus and 11.6% for Salmonella species were detected from all the fish samples collected in the value chains. Salmonella isolates were resistant to erythromycin, tetracycline and azithromycin but highly sensitive to chloramphenicol, gentamicin, ciprofloxacin and enrofloxacin. Similarly, S. aureus isolated from this study were resistant to cefoxitin, oxacillin, tetracycline and cephazolin. Simulated food borne outbreaks due to consumption of uncooked fish contaminated with S. aureus enterotoxin was 513 cases cases for ready-to-eat fish. Total predicted food borne cases for consumption of Salmonella contaminated processed fish was 111 cases per annum. The study has succeeded in mapping out the two common fish value chains in Kaduna and Zaria Metropolises. Most stakeholders had good food safety knowledge and attitude but poor practices of fish handling. The study confirmed a prevalence rate of 15.1% and 11.6% for S. aureus and Salmonella species, respectively. S. aureus isolated in this study were resistant to cefoxitin, oxacillin, cephazolin, erythromycin and tetracycline while Salmonella isolates were resistant to erythromycin, azithromycin and cephazolin. Most of the fish products produced and marketed along the fish value chains of Kaduna and Zaria metropolises were classified as unsafe for human consumption. Hence, it is paramount for food safety authorities to enforce policies with direct objectives on improving consumer health and protection such as continuous vendor education and fish processing outlets routine inspection. Policies with direct microbial risk reduction strategies that will minimize microbial cross and re-contamination from ―farm to fork‖ are necessary. The government should provide basic infrastructure such as supply of potable water and electricity, waste disposal services, good drainage, and toilet facilities to help facilitate translation of knowledge into practices.

MICROBIAL RISK ASSESSMENT OF FISH ALONG ITS VALUE CHAINS IN KADUNA AND ZARIA METROPOLISES, KADUNA STATE, NIGERIA

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