Microbiological assessment of ethnic street foods of the Himalayas

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Background Consumption of ethnic street foods is very popular in both Gangtok and Nainital in India, both being popular tourist resorts in the Indian Himalayas. Common ethnic street foods of Gangtok are samosa, kachori, puchkka, alu chop, vegetable momo, pork momo, alu-cheura, vegetable chowmein, jhal-muri, and sya-faley. Common ethnic street foods of Nainital are samosa, kachori, pani puri, alu tikki, vegetable momo, mutton momo, bread chop, vegetable chowmein, jhal-muri, and vegetable pakoda. Methods A microbiological analysis was conducted to determine bacteria, including pathogenic bacteria, in the food samples. Enterotoxins were also determined. Results Lactococcus lactis, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus brevis, Enterococcus faecium, Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus pumilus, Bacillus licheniformis, Bacillus cereus, Escherichia coli, Enterobacter aerogenes, Enterobacter cloacae, Salmonella enteritica, Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, and Shigella flexneri were isolated from 233 samples of different street foods collected from Gangtok and Nainital. The dominant contaminant bacteria were enterobacteriaceae followed by Staphylococcus spp. and B. cereus in the food samples tested. Only a few street foods tested positive for toxin production. Salmonella toxins and Staphylococcus enterotoxins were not detected in the street foods tested. Conclusion The risks associated with street foods may be controlled by educating vendors about hygienic conditions. In conclusion, street foods are important ethnic foods sold in popular tourist spots in India for marginal local vendors.




Kharel, N., Palni, U., & Tamang, J. P. (2016). Microbiological assessment of ethnic street foods of the Himalayas. Journal of Ethnic Foods, 3(3), 235–241. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jef.2016.01.001

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