Improper handling, poor hygienic practices, and lack of environmental control affect the safety of street-vended beverages. The objective of this study is to determine the bacterial contamination level of three types of beverages (cordial-based drinks, milk-based drinks, fruit juices) sold by street vendors at Chow Kit, Kuala Lumpur. A total of 31 samples of beverages were analyzed to determine total viable count (TVC), total coliform, Escherichia coli, and Staphylococcus aureus counts via the standard plate count method. The results showed that only 9.7% of the total samples were not contaminated with the tested microorganisms. All milk-based drink samples were positive for TVC and also had the highest average bacterial counts at 5.30 ± 1.11 log Colony Forming Unit/mL (CFU/mL). About 71% of the samples were contaminated with total coliform with the average readings ranging between 4.30 and 4.75 log CFU/mL, whereas 58.1% of the samples were positive with S. aureus, with fruit juices having the highest average reading (3.42 ± 1.15 log CFU/mL). Only one sample (milk-based drink) was E. coli positive. This study showed that the microbiological safety level of street-vended beverages in Chow Kit, Kuala Lumpur was average and needs to be improved. Provision of food safety education and adequate sanitary facilities at vending sites are suggested to increase the safety of food products.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.