Kunu-zaki is a nourishing non-alcoholic beverage widely consumed in Nigeria. There is no standardized method for its preparation thus production practices differ amongst retailers. This study was undertaken to evaluate the bacteriological quality of kunu drink retailed in major markets of Owerri metropolis, Nigeria. Triplicate samples were obtained from four markets in Owerri and a control sample prepared in the laboratory. Kunu drink was analysed using the standard pour plate procedure. The results obtained showed that total heterotrophic bacteria count, total coliform count and total Salmonella Shigella count ranged from 1.4 x 103 – 4.5 x 104 cfu/ml, 1.2 x 103 – 3.8 x 104 cfu/ml to 0.6 x 103 – 3.1 x 104 respectively. A total of 9 bacteria genera including Staphylococcus specie, E. coli, Enterobacter specie, Proteus specie, Citrobacter specie, Serratia specie, Lactobacillus specie, Salmonella specie and Streptococcus specie were isolated with the highest percentage frequency of occurrence recorded for Staphylococcus sp. (16.66%) indicating possible low hygiene of the kunu zaki producers. The bacteria genera isolated from kunu zaki sold in Owerri and their number constitute main concerns for public health as these can cause a variety of infections or food intoxications. Thus, there is a need to establish a system of monitoring of street vended kunu zaki to make sure that it is safe for consumption.
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