1.1 Background of Study

The consumption of alcohol beverages is on the decrease in certain areas because various religious and health bodies have intensified campaign against such beverages for alternatives this has necessitated the production and sales of locality produced drinks such as KunuZaki, Pito, Soya milk and Zobo. These drinks are not just accepted by all religions, they are relatively healthier than their alcoholic counter party. These drinks are simple to produce, the raw materials (plant material) are readily available and they are very affordable to majority of the populace who live in abject poverty. The new economy ravaging polices of the government, encouraging locally produced drinks, this has resulted in the increased consumption and merchandise of these traditional drinks in Nigeria (Egbereet al., 2007).

Locally produced drinks have been in existence since Ancient times. The earliest reported traditional African fermented product dates back to between 5000 and 6000 BC from cereal extracts was when the production of beer was invented in Egypt. Alcoholic beverages were also used in the ancient Benin and Ghana Empire. For centuries, the production of these beverages has gradually become an art that is passed through generations who do not even know the scientific basis of the art (Kubo, 2013).

The common locally produced drinks in Kwara state and its environs include:

a) Pito drink

b) KunuZaki (millet food drink)

c) Zobo (extract of calyx Hibiscus sabdariffa)

d) Soybean drinks (Soy milk)

As earlier stated majority of Nigerians live in abject poverty and so lack the capability of purchasing factory produced drinks thus depend on locally produced drinks such as soya milk, Zobo, Kunu-zaki and Pito to provide them with proteins to complement their staple starchy diets. These drinks are therefore consumed across all ethnic groups in Nigeria. These drinks contain various nutrients and medicinal values in addition to their thirst-quenching ability and low cost (Egbereet al., 2007).

These local drinks are however prepared in poor sanitary conditions that end up contaminating the drinks. These unsuspecting consumers consume these contaminated beverages that eventually results in food poisoning. This has raised public health concern; these limitations may over shadow their numerous benefits even when food poisoning does not occur. Contaminating microbes may harbor genes to antibiotics these can be opportunistic pathogen (Ayo et al., 2013).  Various microbes have been implicated in contamination of locally produced drinks. These microbes including B. cereus, S. aureus, Corynebacterium, Clostridium, Eschericia.coli, Lactobacilli, Streptococcus spp, e.t.c. These will reduce the microbiological quality of locally produced drinks. This study will therefore investigate the microbiological quality of some locally produced drinks in Ilorin and its environs.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Street foods are “ready-to–eat” foods and drinks prepared and sold by vendors and hawkers especially in the street and other similar public places (FAO, 2007). 

Street foods are an extremely heterogeneous food category, encompassing meals, drinks, and snacks. They also show great variation in terms of ingredients, methods of retail, processing and consumption and are sold on the street from "pushcarts or baskets or balance poles, or from stalls or shops having fewer than four permanent walls" (FAO, 2007). 

Nigeria had a history of developed supermarket industry until social and economic changes in early 1980s which has diminished the country’s middle class significantly, since then most Nigerians shop at traditional open-air markets or purchases their goods from traders and street vendors (Nzeka, 2011). Extensive street-vending of foods in Nigeria, arises from multiple causes such as deterioration of rural living conditions, migration to the cities, and accelerated urbanization leading to enormous urban congestion, long community distances between the workplace and home, unemployment, lack of cooking knowledge, changes in family cohesion and a shortage or absence of establishments that serve reasonably priced food closeto the workplace (Tinker, 2007; Maxwell, 2010). Street-vended food provide a major source of income for a vast number of persons, particularly women; a chance for self-employment and the opportunity to develop business skills with low capital investment; least expensive and most accessible means of obtaining a nutritionally balanced meal outside the home for many low income people (Dipeoluet al., 2007; WHO, 2012).

Despite the economic and nutritional benefits of street foods, the consumption of these roadside foods has been suggested to potentially increase the risk of food borne diseases as street foods are readily contaminated from different sources. In fact, street foods have often been associated with travellers’ diarrhoea and other food borne diseases (Tambekaret al., 2008). 

Studies have revealed the frequent contamination of street food in many developing countries including Nigeria. Studies by Rath and Patra, (2012), Suneethaet al.(2011), and Arijitet al.(2010) have reveal high loads of bacterial pathogens on popular street foods in different part of India. 

In Africa, Mensahet al.(2012) reported the presence of Bacillus cereus, Staphylococcus aureus, Shigellasonnei, Escherichia coli, and Salmonella arizonaeonfrom different foods sold on streets of Accra. El-Shenawyet al.(2011) reported the contamination of Street-vended ready-to-eat food sold in Egypt, with Listeria species which include Listeria monocytogenesand Listeria innocua. Nyenjeet al.(2012) investigated the microbiological quality of ready to eat foods sold in Alice, South Africa and reported the contamination of these foods by Listeria spp., Enterobacterspp., Aeromonashydrophila, Klebsiellaoxytoca, Proteus mirabilis, Staphylococcus aureusand Pseudomonas luteola. 

Study from Nigeria on the microbial safety of locally made drinks such as Kunu-zaki, Pito, Soy milk, and Zobo vended on highways in Onitsha-Owerri, South east, Nigeria, revealed the contamination of these drinks by pathogens which include; Salmonella spp., S. aureus, E. coli, B. cereus, Shigellaspp., Enterococci, A. nigerandPseudomonas (Oranusi and Braide, 2012). Other researchers including Ossaiet al.(2012), Falolaet al. (2011) and Mbahet al. (2012) have reported contamination of locally drinks by pathogens in different parts of Nigeria. 

Locally produced drinks are fast becoming the choice of Nigeria populace because of their low cost, health and nutritional benefits. These drinks are however not produced aseptically, leading to contamination and resulting in food poisoning.

1.3 Justification of Study

Locally produced drinks are supposed to be safe and free of microorganism. Presence of any type of microorganism in locally produced drinks poses a health challenge to human, community and the nation at large. The fact that aseptic techniques are not employed in the production of local drinks and the consequent contamination of these drinks poses a serious public health challenge. This study will therefore establish the microbial load of different locally produced drinks in and around Ilorin. This will identify the microbiological quality of the drinks and the risk of contamination. 

The microbiological assessment of locally produced drinks in Ilorin will serve as an eye opener to the producer and consumers of local drinks on the need to employ aseptic measure in the production and storage of the drinks. The various microorganism types present in these local drinks is as a result of poor handling and low sanitation levels that leads to their contamination.

1.4 Aims and Objectives of Study

1.4.1 Aim of the study

The aim of this study was to determine the physical and microbiological investigation of some local beverage drinks in Ilorin metropolis, Kwara State.

1.4.2 Specific Objectives of the study

The specific objectives of this study were;

a. To determine the physical characteristics of locally made drinks in Ilorin metropolis.

b. To determine the microbial content in some locally made drinks in Ilorin metropolis.

c. To isolate pathogenic bacteria and fungi from some locally made drinks in Ilorinmetropolis.

1.5 Research Hypothesis (Null)

There are no microorganisms in locally produced drinks in Ilorin metropolis.



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