CHAPTER ONE 1.1 Background to the Study  

Ready to eat foods can be described as the status of foods being ready for immediate consumption at the point of sale. Ready to eat foods could be raw or cooked, hot or chilled, and can be consumed without further heat treatment (Tsang, 2002). Different terms have been used to describe such ready-to-eat foods. These include convenient, ready, instant, and fast foods. Examples of such ready-to-eat foods include pastries, chicken pie, meat pie sausage rolls, burgers, moin-mion salad, fried meat, milk, and milk products ( Caserani and Kinston, 1974). A general observation of our society shows a social pattern characterized by increased mobility. Large numbers of itinerary workers and fewer family or home-centered activities. This situation however has resulted in more ready-to-eat foods taken outside the home. Thus food vendor services become on the increase and responsibility for good manufacturing practices of food such as good sanitary measures and proper food handling have been transferred from individuals/ families to the food vendors who rarely enforce such practices (Musa and Akande, 2002).

According to Doyle and Evans (1999), Foodborne diseases are diseases resulting from the ingestion of bacteria, toxins, and cells produced by microorganisms present in food. Food-borne illnesses are a major international health problem with consequent economic reduction (Duff et al., 2003). Outbreaks of food-borne diseases are caused by foods that are contaminated intrinsically or that become contaminated during harvesting, processing, or preparation (Torok et al., 1997). In most countries, the most common food-borne illness is Staphylococcus food intoxication (Talaro et al., 1996). Staphylococcus aureus is a gram-positive coccus, resistant to heat, drying, and radiation. Its strains can be pathogenic and relatively nonpathogenic. They produce some enzymes which are implicated with Staphylococcal invasiveness and mainly extracellular substances some of which are heat-stable enterotoxins that render the foods dangerous even though it appears normal ( Prescott et al., 2005). Once the bacteria have produced toxin, the food can be extensively and properly cooked, killing the bacteria without destroying the toxin. This is why there is a need to screen ready-to-eat foods such as chicken pie for toxins produced by Staphylococcus species.

1.2 Problem Statement

In Nigeria, a number of foods have been reported to have a high incidence of bacteria (Adesiyun, 1995; Okonko et al., 2009). But there is limited information on the health challenges from food-borne diseases from chicken pie retailed within a highly populous community. Hence there is a need to do screen for toxin production of Staphylococcus species.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The major objective of the study is the screening for toxin production of Staphylococcus species isolated from chicken pie sold in some restaurants in Ile Ife.

1.4 Research Questions

(1) what are ready-to-eat foods?

(2) what are Staphylococcus species?

(3) what are their contamination routes?

(4) How can they be isolated?

(5) why do we need to screen ready-to-eat food such as chicken pie for the toxin produced by Staphylococcus species?

1.5 Significance of the study

The purpose of this research is to screen chicken pie sold in some restaurants in ILe Ife for toxins produced by Staphylococcus species and highlight the health implications of consuming such contaminated ready-to-eat food (chicken pie).

1.6 Scope of the study

The research focuses on the screening for toxin production of Staphylococcus species isolated from chicken pie sold in some restaurants in Ile Ife.

1.7 Limitations of the study.

The samples were collected from selected restaurants in Ile Ife.


Adesiyun AA (1995). Bacteriologic quality of some Trinidadian ready-to-eat foods and drinks and possible health risks to consumers protein.58(3): 651- 655.

Caserani V, Kinston dR, (1974). Practical Crookery, 4th edition Edward Arnold Publishers London Pp. 1-10.

 Doyle MP, Evans PD (1999). Food-borne pathogens of recent concern. Ann. Revised Nutrient. 6: 25-41.

Duff SB, Scott EA, Mastilios MS, Todd EC, Krilov LRG, Eddes AM, Acknerman SJ (2003). Cost-effectiveness of a target disinfection program in household kitchens to prevent food-borne illnesses in the United stars, Canada, and the United Kingdom. J. Food protect. bb(11) pp 2103-2105.

Prescott M, Harley P, Klan DA (2005). Microbiology 6th Edition McGraw Hill New York Publisher U.S.A p.910

Talarok, Talaro, A (1996). Foundations in Microbiology 2nd Edition McGraw Hill Publishers USA pp. 840-841.

Torok TJ, Tauze RV, Wise RP, Livengood JR, Sokolow R, Manvons S (1997). A large community outbreak of Salmonellosis caused by International contamination of a restaurant salad J. Am. Med. Assoc. 278(8): 389-395.

Tsang D (2002). Microbiological guidelines for ready-to-eat food. Road and Environmental Hygiene department Hongkong pp. 115-116.




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