Background: Today in the world, disease resulting from food is considered one of the most important problems in public health. This study aimed to determine the bacterial contamination of ready-to-eat foods, i.e. fast food, in Ilam city.
Methods: In this cross-sectional, analytical study, 270 samples of ready-to-eat food, including pizza, frankfurters, and sausages, were randomly collected and tested for contamination with Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Shigella sonnei, Salmonella arizonae, and Enterococcus faecalis. After examination, the collected data was analyzed using SPSS 20 software and logistic regression.
Results: From a total of 270 samples of ready-to-eat food, 27.77% was contaminated with E. coli, 21.48% with S. aureus, 13.33% with S. sonnei, 14.44% with S. arizonae, and 5.9% with E. faecalis. The results showed higher rates of E. coli and S. aureus contamination in pizza, frankfurters, and sausages. Also, a higher percentage of frankfurters were contaminated with microbial species than pizza or sausages. There were significant differences in microbial contamination rates (P < 0.05) among the three groups of food. In addition, factors such as indicators (health, sanitation, and lack of hygiene), age, gender, and education level of the operating staff had no effect on the results.
Conclusion: Based on the results, it can be concluded that bacterial contamination of ready-to-eat foods is significantly high in the city of Ilam; therefore, it is suggested that the examination of food in various stages of production and distribution can help reduce bacterial contamination, and training for the operators of shopping centers’ ready-to-eat food shops and controlling pathogens are essential.