Keywords: food chain, operation links, tomatoes, tomato quality, Kuwait, microbiological quality, postharvest, food safety, aerobic plate count, APC, yeast, moulds, streptococcus faecal, staphylococcus aureus, listeria monocytogenes, salmonella
Characterisation of quality and safety of tomatoes sold in the state of Kuwait
This study determined the microbiological quality and safety of locally produced and imported tomatoes at selected points of the food chain. To accomplish this objective, a survey was conducted to obtain necessary information on the various links in the food chain for tomatoes. The food chain operational links for local and imported tomatoes were then prepared. Microbiological assessment of tomatoes was then carried out by collecting samples from local farms, retail and wholesale outlets. Microbiological analyses included aerobic plate count (APC), yeast and moulds, Streptococcus faecal, Staphylococcus aureus, Listeria monocytogenes and detection of Salmonella spp. All samples collected at the farms and the outlets had APC counts less than 107 CFU g−1. Local samples collected from the farms exceeded the microbiological recommendations set for yeast and moulds (10%), faecal Streptococcus (0.7%) and L. monocytogenes (0.7%). Similarly, local tomato samples collected at the outlets exceeded the microbiological recommendations set for yeast and moulds (7.6%) and L. monocytogenes (1.3%). For imported tomatoes, samples exceeded the microbiological recommendations for yeast and moulds (10%), faecal Streptococcus (2.5%) and L. monocytogenes (1.3%). The pathogen, Salmonella spp. was not detected in any of the samples analysed.