Mohamed A. Hussein, Elsaid A. Eldaly, Hanan G. Seadawy, Elham F. El-Nagar


Ready to eat food has been associated with some epidemics of foodborne illness all over the world. This study was designed to evaluate the microbial quality of ready to eat (RTE) sandwiches in Sharkia Governorate with special reference to virulence and antibiotic resistance genes of Escherichia coli (E. coli). One hundred and eighty RTE sandwiches containing meat (shawerma, kofta, sausage and hawawshi), chicken (chicken shawerma, pane, shish tawook, grilled chicken) and fish (grilled Tilapia nilotica, grilled Mugel cephalus, fried shrimp and fried fillet), fifteen of each were randomly collected from restaurants in Sharkia Governorate. Bacteriological examination revealed that the mean values of aerobic plate count  (APC) ranged from 1.23×104 to 8.4×105 CFU/g and of total coliform count indicated by most probable number (MPN/g) ranged from 0.09×102 to 6.95×102. E. coli percentages ranged from 6.7% to 26.7%. Serotyping of E. coli strains revealed five serotypes (O153: H2, O78, O127: H6, O91: H21 and O26: H11) by different percentages, O26: H11 was the most common one (31.6%) and O153: H2 was the lowest one (5.3%). All recorded isolates showed 100% antibiotic resistant to both erythromycin and amoxicillin – clavulanic acid. It was further found that eaeA gene present in all isolated serotypes except O153: H2 while Shiga toxin (Stx1 and Stx2) were not detected at all, also found that resistant E. coli isolates to amoxicillin-clavulanic acid and erythromycin possessed blaTEM, mphA resistance genes (100%). Current results point to that RTE sandwiches in Sharkia Governorate are potential vehicles of antimicrobial-resistant E. coli among other possible foodborne pathogens with public health significance.

Key words: ready-to-eat; aerobic plate count; E. coli; coliform; resistance genes

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