Microbial Evaluation of Spices in Ethiopia

Tesfaye L. Bedada1, *, Firehiwot A. Derra1, Samson G. Gebre1, Waktole G. Sima1, Redwan M. Edicho1, Rahel F. Maheder1, Tigist Y. Negassi1, Yosef B. Asefa2
1 Public Health Microbiology Research Team, Ethiopian Public Health Institute, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
2 Nutrition Research Team, Ethiopian Public Health Institute, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Article Metrics

CrossRef Citations:
Total Statistics:

Full-Text HTML Views: 960
Abstract HTML Views: 477
PDF Downloads: 136
ePub Downloads: 102
Total Views/Downloads: 1675
Unique Statistics:

Full-Text HTML Views: 655
Abstract HTML Views: 374
PDF Downloads: 103
ePub Downloads: 74
Total Views/Downloads: 1206

© 2018 Bedada et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Public Health Microbiology Research Team, Ethiopian Public Health Institute, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Tel: +251912139197; Fax: +251 112758634; E-mail:



Since spices are taken as ready-to-eat products, they are not subjected to heat treatment. The use of spices contaminated with pathogens can lead to morbidity and mortality.

Materials and Methods:

The study was conducted on 162 samples of 25 spices collected from retail and production sites in different regions of Ethiopia between January 2010 to December 2017 to determine the concentrations of heterotrophic plate count and Staphylococcus aureus by pour plate method; for coliforms using NMKL Method No. 44; for mould and yeast enumeration using spread method and for Salmonella using ES ISO 6579. The data was analysed using SPSS version 20.0.


Moulds, yeasts, total coliforms, heterotrophic plate count, total coliforms, thermotolerant coliforms, E. coli and S. aureus above the acceptable limits were observed in 5 (3%), 7 (4.3%), 2 (1.2%), 20 (12.3%), 10 (6.2%), 9 (5.6%) and 19 (11.7%) samples respectively. Salmonella species was not noticed in any of the samples tested. No bacterial and fungal contaminations were observed in 11 of 25 spices.


Few spices samples had 1.2 to 12.3% of the microbiological indicators, spoilages or pathogens exceeded the ICMFS guidelines. The use of these contaminated spices may pose risk to human health.

Keywords: Spices, Coliforms, Mould, Yeast, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella.