Seafood is often associated with foodborne illnesses, and Vibrio parahaemolyticus is the most common pathogen implicated in outbreaks in Taiwan. In this study, the microbiological quality of 300 raw or mixed ready-to-eat (RTE) and other cooking-needed seafood samples was examined. The total aerobic and coliform counts of the RTE samples were significantly higher than those of other cooking-needed samples. On average, 55.8 and 29.7% of the RTE samples failed to meet the local microbiological standards for total aerobic (5 log CFU/g) and coliform (3 log most probable number [MPN] per g), counts respectively; the corresponding percentages for the RTE samples from Taipei City were 9.1 and 18.2%, respectively. The total aerobic and coliform counts in the RTE samples from supermarkets and chain restaurants were significantly lower than those from traditional restaurants. The Vibrio species were more frequently identified in the cooking-needed samples than in RTE samples. Low incidences of V. parahaemolyticus (1.4%), V. vulnificus (1.9%), and V. cholerae (0%) were detected in most RTE samples. High densities of V. parahaemolyticus and V. vulnificus (1,200 MPN/g) were detected in a few RTE samples, only one of which contained toxigenic (tdh+) V. parahaemolyticus. The results of this investigation reveal that better hygiene of seafood providers such as chain restaurants, supermarkets, and traditional restaurants in Taipei City would effectively improve the microbiological quality of the seafood. The results will facilitate the establishment of measures for controlling the risks associated with seafood in Taiwan.

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