Foodborne illnesses are a major public health concern, and meat products are one of the most common sources of contamination. Handling and processing raw meat in restaurants can increase the risk of foodborne illnesses if the correct hygiene and safety measures are not followed. Consequently, it is important to conduct a comprehensive assessment of foodborne illness-causing microorganisms to monitor the food safety practices in restaurants and prevent the spread of contamination, protecting public health and ensuring the safety of the food supply chain. In view of this, this study conducted an assessment of local restaurants to identify the prevalence of different foodborne illness-causing microorganisms. A total of 63 samples were collected aseptically using cotton swabs from restaurants in 9 different locations in Al-Mandaq City, Saudi Arabia (7 samples from each location). Klebsiella aerogenes (K. aerogenes), Salmonella spp., Shigella spp., Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), Staphylococcus epidermidis (S. epidermidis) and Escherichia coli (E. coli) were isolated and identified from each sample using different media. From 63 samples, 91 isolates of pathogenic bacteria were isolated from 9 restaurants. Higher prevalence was found in location 7, where the number of isolates was 17, while the lowest pathogenic load was observed in location 2, where the number of isolates was 8. Among the samples, the highest number of pathogenic isolates was observed in raw foods (22), followed by samples collected from the tools (18). Of the 109 bacterial counts, S. aureus contributed 43.12%, followed by S. epidermidis (42.2%), Salmonella spp. (6.42%), and K. aerogenes (4.58%). The frequency of E. coli occurrence was low (2.75%) in all the samples collected from the nine locations.
Foodborne, Contamination, Pathogens, Bacteria, Detection, Staphylococcus
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