Research – Bacteriological Quality and Biotoxin Profile of Ready-to-Eat Foods Vended in Lagos, Nigeria



A comprehensive study of bacterial and biotoxin contaminants of ready-to-eat (RTE) foods in Nigeria is yet to be reported. Hence, this study applied 16S rRNA gene sequencing and a dilute-and-shoot LC-MS/MS method to profile bacteria and biotoxins, respectively, in 199 RTE food samples comprising eko (n = 30), bread (n = 30), shawarma (n = 35), aadun (n = 35), biscuits (n = 34), and kokoro (n = 35). A total of 631 bacterial isolates, clustered into seven operational taxonomic units, namely AcinetobacterBacillusKlebsiellaProteus and KosakoniaKurthia, and Yokenella, that are reported for the first time were recovered from the foods. One hundred and eleven metabolites comprising mycotoxins and other fungal metabolites, phytoestrogenic phenols, phytotoxins, and bacterial metabolites were detected in the foods. Aflatoxins, fumonisins, and ochratoxins contaminated only the artisanal foods (aaduneko, and kokoro), while deoxynivalenol and zearalenone were found in industrially-processed foods (biscuit, bread, and shawarma), and citrinin was present in all foods except eko. Mean aflatoxin (39.0 µg/kg) in artisanal foods exceeded the 10 µg/kg regulatory limit adopted in Nigeria by threefold. Routine surveillance, especially at the informal markets; food hygiene and safety education to food processors and handlers; and sourcing of high-quality raw materials are proposed to enhance RTE food quality and safeguard consumer health.

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