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Staphylococcal aureus (S. aureus) has been reported as the most prevalent bacteria which can cause foodborne disease worldwide. Since fresh salads, vegetables are consumed uncooked and if contaminated with microbial pathogens may lead to severe food borne illness. This study aimed to evaluate the contamination rate of Staphylococcal aureus in fresh ready to eat salad, sold in local markets of Quetta city, Pakistan. Out of 100 samples tested, 54 were found contaminated with S. aureus. Out of 54 S. aureus isolates, 32 (59%) were coagulase positive S. aureus. However, 22 (40%) were coagulase negative. Enumeration of coagulase positive S. aureus samples revealed that only10% (n=3) of the total collected samples were within the level of acceptance<20 cfu g-1, while 40% (n=12) sample were almost on the threshold of Borderline (20-<10-4cfu g-1). Whereas 50% (n=17) samples were at Unacceptable level (>10-4cfu g-1). Furthermore, higher S. aureus contamination of fresh food samples was observed during early summer season.
Keywords: Bacterial count; Biochemical tests; S. aureus; Salad; Vegetables