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The consumption of fresh vegetables is on the increase because of the recent awareness of the numerous health benefits. Most people prefer them raw inform of salads to retain the natural taste and heat-labile nutrients. Thus, evaluating the bacteriological quality of these vegetables for public safety is of primary importance. The bacteriological quality of fresh salad vegetables sold in Calabar markets was evaluated using standard techniques. The mean bacterial cell counts ranged from 2.44x108 Cfu/mL to 1.00 x108 Cfu/mL. In Calabar road market, the highest cell counts were observed in leeks with 2.44 x108 Cfu/mL followed by cabbage with 2.13 x108 Cfu/mL both for Bacillus species. The least count, 1.08 x108 Cfu/mL was obtained from green peas for Listeria and Staphylococcus species. In Marian market, the highest counts were 2.13 x108 Cfu/mL for Bacillus species obtained from cabbage while the lowest count was 1.00 x108 Cfu/mL for Staphylococcus species from green peas and cabbage. The most prevalent bacterial isolate was Staphylococcus species with percentage occurrence of 30% in Marian market and 24% in Calabar road. The most contaminated of the vegetables was carrots with the percentage occurrence of 18% (7 out of 37). The order of contamination in analysed vegetables was; carrots > leeks = cucumber > lettuce = green beans = green peas > cabbage = onion = green bell pepper in both markets. The significance of the findings is that vegetables used as salad recipe could be sources of foodborne infection, particularly during the beginning of the rains when new vegetables are harvested from the ground level. This calls for thorough washing of salad vegetables before consumption.
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