Food quality does not encompass only the sensory characteristics and presentation of food rather it is a comprehensive term in the sense that the food served to the guests must be nutritive as well as microbiologically safe so as to do no harm after consumption. But the ground realities are just the reverse of it.
• To analyse microbiological adequacy of green salad served at the selected restaurants
• To identify pathogens present in green salad served thereto
Methodology: Microbiological quality examination of food samples collected from the selected restaurants was done using spread plate method, counting CFUs, physical examination of colonies, smear preparation, gram staining and microscopic examination of slides. Standardized recipes prepared were also analyzed for comparative analysis.
Results: Green salad samples from all three types of restaurants had shown high incidence of total viable counts. The highest bacterial CFU/ml in samples of green salad was however recorded as 7.6 × 1010 at 10-8 dilution in private restaurants followed by a mean CFU/ml value of 5.7 × 1010 and 4.0 × 1010 respectively in case of public and fast food restaurants at the same dilution. The pathogens found in samples of green salad from private restaurants include E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Aspergillus, Penicillium while those from public establishments had Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus cereus, Aspergillus, Yeast. However, Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus, Penicillium were detected in case of fast food restaurants.
Conclusion: The p-values between private versus public, private versus fast food and public versus fast food restaurants did not favour significance in microbial colonies. Hence, it could be concluded that all three types of restaurants serve green salad with similar microbiological quality. This perhaps may be due the reason that salad being highly perishable is very difficult to be protected from microbial contamination. Thus, green salad has been reported responsible in maximum of the eating out food poisoning outbreaks.