Chili peppers sauce is a dietary complement largely consumed in Cameroon. It is consumed in a powder or wet (pepper sauce) form or directly introduced into cooked food. In this study, the microbiological quality of chili pepper sauce used as food complement in the Buea municipality was assessed. The study was an observational and cross-sectional study involving 70 chili pepper sauce samples from food vendors. The samples were cultured on Salmonella-Shigella agar, violet red bile agar, plate count agar and the colonies isolated were enumerated and identified using the Enterosystem 18R. Factors associated with microbial count were identified using a multiple linear regression model. Bacteria isolate from chili pepper sauce were mainly Entrobacter cloacae (31.57%), Citrobacter freundii (15.78%) and Klebsiella pneumonia (15.78%) and other Enterococcal species. Factors associated with bacteria count were: age of the vendor, number of customers served, types of food and food storage conditions (covering, heating, type of storage containers). Chili pepper sauce used as food complement in Buea Municipality were contaminated with Enteric microorganisms and may represents a potential public health hazard to consumers. The presence of these microorganisms from chilli pepper sauce could result from poor handling.
Key words: Chili pepper sauce, contamination, enteric bacteria, health hazard.
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