keywords: Cabbage, lettuce, colony count, food vendors, public health
Despite the enormous health benefits attributable to the consumption of vegetables, contamination by pathogenic microorganisms inevitably leads to public health problems. This study was conducted to assess the bacteriological quality of freshly-cut and ready to eat lettuce and cabbage sold to the public by Dutse old and ultramodern markets’ food vendors. Escherichia coli, Salmonella species and Shigella species were isolated from ten sampled vegetables using plate count method. The three organisms were detected in all the ten samples analysed except two cabbage samples that presented <1 cfu/ml of Salmonella sp. The mean microbial contamination of Lettuce detected from the three organisms ranged from 2.7x108 to 1.04x109 cfu/ml in the old market and 7.0x107 to 1.01x109 cfu/ml in the new market. Meanwhile, Cabbage contamination ranged from 1.8x108 to 1.8x109 cfu/ml in the old market and 8.0x107 to 1.4x109 cfu/ml in the new market. A statistically significant difference in Salmonella contamination (2.0x108 cfu/ml) and Shigella contamination (3.3x108 cfu/ml) of Lettuce between the old and new markets was revealed while the mean difference in E. coli contamination (3.0x107 cfu/ml) was found not to be significant (p>0.05). It is therefore recommended that food vendors should ensure top notch hygiene practices to attain public health safety in the consumption of vegetables.