The microbial load of ready-to-eat rice from both local fast food centers (local restaurants) and Standard fast food centers (high class restaurants) within Benin City was investigated. The total colony count ranged from 2.0 x 104 to 1.2 x 106 for bacteria and 8.0 x 104 to 2.0 x 105 for fungi. Four bacteria were isolated: Bacillus cereus, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli andKlebsiella pneumonia. B. cereus, which is mainly associated with food poisoning because of its ability to produce toxins, was present in 37.5% of samples alongside E. coli. Two fungi were isolated: Saccharomyces cerevisae, occurring in 50% of samples, and Aspergillus niger. Ready-to-eat rice from standard fast food centers was found to have more microbial load and more microorganisms compared to ready-to-eat rice from local fast food centers. The results of our study indicated that most of the ready-to-eat rice samples examined did not meet bacteriological quality standards. Hence, it is recommended that a more close supervision of ready-to-eat food should be carried out by relevant authorities.
Key words: Microbial load, ready-to-eat rice, standard fast food centers and local fast food centers.
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