Physical characteristics, microbial and chemical quality, pH and cholesterol level were analysed from 120 table eggs randomly collected from households, retailers and at market in Dodoma city, Central part of Tanzania. The eggs sampled at the market were found to have low content of moisture (80.65%), high cholesterol level (15.90 mg/g) and low pH of 6.50 with vast microbial load of 5.622 CFU/mL and 5.690 CFU/mL for Total Coliform Counts (TCC) and Total Aerobic Bacteria Counts (TABC), respectively, while free range local chicken (FRLC) recorded low cholesterol level 14.70 mg/g, higher moisture 86.58% than eggs sampled at market (80.65%) but lower than commercial layers eggs (89.32%). Commercial layers recorded higher Haugh unit of 79.35 HU than local chickens from Makulu and Majengo market, which recorded 66.19 HU and 70.29 HU, respectively. Exposure of eggs to sunlight in the market and transportation of eggs from producers to the retail market might influence in lowering moisture and increasing pH. Enormous microbial contamination of eggs at market retailers and FRLC in the city could be due to unhygienic handling of the eggs, nesting materials, poor storage and poor transportation facilities. Storing of eggs in cold room and protection of direct sun light could be helpful in maintaining the quality of eggs. Usage of refrigeration systems and construction of shades in markets are suggested to maintain and improve quality of eggs sold in markets especially in tropical low income countries.
Keywords: Egg, physical characteristics, Chemical composition, Microbial load, local chicken