Microbial food safety in Ghana: a meta-analysis
Introduction: Food safety is a crucial factor in the growth of developing countries worldwide. In this study, we present a meta-analysis of microbiological food safety publications from Ghana.
Methodology: The search words “Ghana food safety”, “Ghana food research”, and “Ghana food bacteria” were used to search for microbiological food safety publications with related abstracts or titles in PubMed, published between 1997 and 2009. We obtained 183 research articles, from which we excluded articles concerning ready-to-eat microbial fermented foods and waterborne microorganisms as well as articles without abstracts. The criteria used for analysis of these publications were based on an assessment of methodological soundness previously developed for use in the medical field, with some modifications incorporated.
Results: The most predominant bacteria in Ghanain foods are Enterobacter spp., Citrobacter spp., Klebsiella spp. and Escherichia spp., which were found to be present in 65%, 50%, 46% and 38% respectively, of the food samples considered in the studies analysed. The most contaminated food samples were macaroni, salad, and milk. Although the methodological quality of the articles was generally sound, most of them did not give directions for future research. Several did not state possible reasons for differences between studies.
Conclusion: The microbiological food contamination in Ghana is alarming. However, we found that the downward trend in publications of microbial food safety articles is appalling. Hence a concerted effort in research on food safety is needed in Ghana to help curb the incidence of preventable food-borne disease.