Microbiological and biochemical spoilage of smoke-dried fishes sold in West African open markets
Proximate composition and microbiological characteristics of pre-dried Chrysichthys nigrodigitatus and Pseudotolithus typus were studied over a period of 4 weeks to determine the health risks associated with delayed consumption. All analyses were conducted using standard microbiological and chemical methods. Results showed a general decline in microbiological safety and nutritive characteristics of both fish species over time, with an observed increase in microbial loads over time. Aspergillus flavus was also present on both species which makes consumption of the fishes hazardous to the health of consumers due to its ability to produce carcinogenic aflatoxins. In order to minimise the health risks to consumers, it is recommended that smoke-dried fishes be consumed with minimal delay and cooked properly before consumption. The findings of this study will prove important in the development of more stringent regulations regarding food safety in Nigeria.