An investigation was carried out for detection and enumeration of coagulase-positive Staphylococcus aureus from fresh, fried and dried meat samples sold in the traditional markets in Benin City. Using Salt Milk Agar for presumptive detection and coagulase test for confirmation, it was found that all samples of meat from the traditional markets contained coagulase-positive staphylococci. Weekly sampling was done over a 6-month period to demonstrate the prevalence of the coagulase-positive staphylococci in both traditional market, supermarket and abattoir meat samples. The range of counts fell between 104 and 1011 cells per gram. Fresh pork from the traditional market had the highest average number, 6.4×1010/g, followed by dried beef 3.7×1010/g, fresh goat and fried chicken 6.8×109/g each and fresh beef 7.0×109/g. The supermarket meat showed that chilled beef had the highest, 4.5×105/g, followed by chilled pork 3.0×105/g and frozen chicken 2.0×104/g. The abattoir meat had 3.5×104/g. The effects of condiments on inhibition of S. aureus were determined in abattoir meat homogenates. Clove was the most active of the spices tested with 1% (w/v) preventing outgrowth of S. aureus for up to 18-h contact time. When used at 10% (w/v), clove was found to be bactericidal, reducing the S. aureus load from 2.9×103/ml of homogenate at 0 h to 1.2×101/ml after 18 h of contact time.

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