Mal J Nutr 21(1): 121 - 126, 2015

Food Quality Aspects of Fresh Green Salads in Selected Retail Stores in Los Banos, Laguna, The Philippines
Barrion ASA*, Hurtada WA & Yee MG

ABSTRACT

Introduction: Consumption of minimally processed vegetables has gained popularity due to consumer emphasis on convenience and healthy eating. However, much handling during processing poses health risks to the consumers. This study was aimed at determining the proximate composition and microbiological quality of minimally processed packed fresh green salads sold in seven different retail stores in Barangay Batong Malake, Los Banos, Laguna.
Methods: Proximate composition, microbiological quality and presence of filth in the sampled salads were analysed using standard AOAC, BAM and floatation methods, respectively.
Results: The proximate composition of the samples in percentage consisted of carbohydrates (3.07- 14.26), protein (0.95-11.79), fat (0.03-3.64), fibre(0.64-1.13) and moisture (73.27-92.77). Microbial analysis showed a mean total plate count of 2.4 x 107and a broad range of 2.7 x 104 - 6.6 x 107 CFU/g. Most probable numbers (MPN) of >11,000/g coliforms were found in four samples and Escherichia coli bacteria were detected in five samples but none of the E.coli count exceeded 9.2 MPN/g. Both insect fragments and textile fibre were detected in two samples. Based on the specifications by the Food and Drug Administrations of the Philippines, the levels of contamination found could lead to imminent spoilage andpose a potential health hazard.
Conclusion: Although green salads contain fibre and low calories which are nutritionally important, the present findings in a Filipino location accentuates the need for more stringent enforcement of food safety measures to protect the consumers from possible occurrence of food poisoning.

Keywords: Fresh green salads, microbiological load, proximate composition

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