Oranusi S, Braide W, Etinosa-Okankan OJ
Fruits and vegetables are important source needed for nutritional and medical purposes; they aid regulation of body metabolism and replenishment of needed vitamins, minerals and reduce the risk of some ailments. The consumption of contaminated fruits and vegetables may lead to parasitic infestations, infections and ailments. Attempt was made to investigate the prevalence of soil-helminthes on selected fruits (Solanum marcrocarpon, lycopacicum esculentum, Daucus carota and chrysophylum albidum) and vegetables (Talinum trangulare, Ocimum gratissmum, Talferia occidentalis and Amaranthus viridis) sold in selected markets in Owerri metropolis, Ihiagwa and Eziobodo all in Imo State, Nigeria. Cultivation practices by farmers and unhygienic practices associated with poor sanitation and preservation techniques by vendors and consumers was discovered to play key role in contamination of fruits and vegetables along the chain of distribution to consumption. Talinum trangulare and lycopacicum esculentum has the highest levels of 33% soil-helminthes contaminations respectively. The most prevalent geohelminthes in fruits and vegetables was A. lumbricoides and Hookworms with a percentage occurrence of 37% and 36% in fruits and 39% and 33% in vegetables. Produce from markets in Owerri metropolis and Eziobodo had the highest levels of 40% and 36% contaminations. Soil helminthes can be prevented and or destroyed in fruits and vegetables by effective human and animal waste disposal, use of well treated organic manure/waste water and effluents as fertilizers and for irrigation, thorough washing and cooking of fruits and vegetables, education of food vendors on food safety practices and application of HACCP measures.
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