Microbial Load and Occurrence of Bacterial Pathogens in Ayib (Ethiopian Cottage Cheese) Marketed in Hawassa City, Southern Ethiopia

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Asnaku Bekele
Abraham Mikru
Million Adane
Zufan Bedewi


Ayib, a traditional Ethiopian cottage cheese, is a popular dairy product with a significant role in the country's diet and culture. However, despite its high nutritional quality, it is susceptible to microbial spoilage and transmission of foodborne pathogens. Therefore, this study aimed to assess the microbial quality and safety of ayib samples sourced from small-scale vendors in the open markets and a commercial dairy plant in Hawassa, Ethiopia. The microbial quality and safety of 50 ayib samples (250 g per sample) consisting of 25 samples from randomly selected small-scale vendors and 25 from retail outlets of a commercial dairy in Hawassa. The quality and safety of the ayib samples were assessed based on aerobic mesophilic bacterial count (AMBC), total coliform count (TCC), staphylococcal count (SC), yeast and mold count (YMC), and detection of Salmonella and Escherichia coli using standard plate count and phenotypic biochemical tests. The mean AMBC, TCC, SC, and YMC values of samples from the small-scale vendors in log10CFU/g were 8.26, 5.38, 4.96, and 6.88, respectively. The respective parameters for the ayib samples from the dairy plant were 7.55, 4.56, 3.91, and 5.42 in log10 CFU/g. The aerobic mesophilic bacteria count in the ayib samples from both sources were dominated by Staphylococcus, Bacillus, and Pseudomonas. Salmonella was detected at higher frequencies (48%) in samples from small-scale vendors than in the dairy plant (28%). These findings indicated that ayib samples from both sources had a microbial load higher than the recommended limit set by international standards. The study highlighted the potential risks associated with ayib consumption, particularly from small-scale vendors. It emphasizes the need for improved food safety practices and regulations to ensure the safety and quality of ayib in the production and supply chain.


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