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Street foods provide a convenient diet for many people in developing countries with the consumption supporting the livelihood of several individuals. However, street food safety is a major global concern due to poor food handling and insanitary conditions that often lead to coliform bacteria contamination resulting in the outbreak of foodborne diseases. This paper analyses the microbial content of food served by food vendors in the Bolgatanga Municipality of Ghana, which has recorded high levels of foodborne diseases. Using a mixed research approach, and a cross-sectional design, a total of 150 food vendors were sampled from 10 communities within the Municipality. Food samples from the vendors were taken and subjected to microbial load analysis. Out of the 66 food samples tested, 42.4 percent recorded the presence of Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) with only six recording the presence of S. typhi (S. typhi). All the samples that were isolated for Escherichia coli (E. coli) had microbial loading of 1 and above, with the lowest recorded to be 1.6 ± 0.6 log CFU/g. The highest contamination by E. coli was in the samples of tomato sauce, followed by samples of rice balls and then by groundnut soup. The high microbial quality of the street foods sampled suggests that the safety of food vendors’ food handling practices was largely compromised and so most of the foods were contaminated above acceptable levels for consumption. The study recommends that food vendors should be educated on proper personal hygiene and to avoid making direct skin contact with food.
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