Street vended foods are the major source of food borne diseases in most parts of sub-Saharan Africa including Nigeria. In this study, six samples each of six different vended foods obtained in Calabar municipality were evaluated for bacteriological quality and presence of Staphylococcus aureususing standard microbiological techniques. Each food was examined macroscopically for evidence of spoilage, followed by culture isolation for Staphylococcus aureus. The organisms isolated were subjected to antibiotic assay test using the disc diffusion techniques. The mean bacterial count for fried yam was 7.4 x 104cfu/ml while that of fried fish was 7.4 x 104cfu/ml. Moi-moi had a mean count of 1.0 x 104cfu/ml, suya 9.3 x 104cfu/ml, meat pie 6.4 x 104cfu/ml and fried plantain 7.6 x 104cfu/ml respectively. The highest mean count was recorded at Akai-effa and IkotIshie. Out of the 36 food samples analyzed, 25(64.4%) showed growth on nutrient agar, 20(55.6%) showed growth on Staphylococcus medium 110 and was confirmed as Staphylococcus aureus through several biochemical tests. Distribution of Staphylococcusaureus isolates with respect to food type analysed showed that out of the six (6) samples from each of the food type collected and examined 3(50.0%) of fried yam, 1(16.0%) of fried fish, 5(83.3%) of moi-moi, 4(66.0%) of suya 5(83.3%) of meat pie and 2(33.3%) of fried plantain were contaminated by Staphylococcus aureus. The distribution of Staphylococcus aureus isolates in food with respect to location showed that out of the six locations examined, Eta-Agbo road and Akim market had 2(33.3%), Akai-effa and IkotIshie had 5(83.3%) while Marian and Effio-ette had 3(50.0% ) contaminated with Staphylococcus aureus. Result of the antibiotic susceptibility revealed that the isolated Staphylococcus aureus was highly resistant to Norfloxacin (50.0%), Ampiclox (45.0%), Erythromycin (40.0%), Amoxil (35.0%) resistance was least to ciprofloxacin (20.0%), Gentamycin (10.0%) and Levofloxacin (5.0%). Contamination of these food samples is an indication of poor personal hygiene and poor sanitation among food handlers. To prevent outbreak of food poisoning and possible spread of antibiotic resistant Staphylococcus aureus, healthcareand other institutions should enforce proper handling of foods in the Canaan city-Calabar municipality, Nigeria.
Key words:Ready-to-eat foods,vended foods, suya, food poisoning, moi-moi.