8. Ghana - Shea Butter Processing
Changing Women's Lives and Work
The study into the traceability of the microflora contaminating the different stages of the traditional method of Shea butter processing was carried out with the aim of identifying the points of microflora contamination and also to track the movement of the associated microflora along the different stages of Shea butter processing into the final product. The microflora associated with the samples collected from the various stages of Shea butter processing from some villages in Kwara State was
... n Kwara State was determined using the International Confectionery Association (ICA) specifications. The schematic flowchart of the Shea butter processing was used as a technique to track the associated microflora from their points of contamination to the final product. The results revealed the presence of fungi such as A. flavus, A. niger (aggregates) and Penicllium sp as well as bacteria such as Salmonella parathyphi, Enterobacter sp., Escherichia coli and Klebsiella sp. The points of entrance of these pathogens into the different processing stages include the use of microbe-infected Shea kernels, water source and sources of cross-contamination. The results also showed that the different microflora could move along the different processing stages into the Shea butter. This was as a result of below standard processing practices. The traceability results also revealed a mean microbial load of 100 cfu/2g for the Shea kernels collected from Apaola, Ilota and Futu villages while that of the grounded kernels were 40,45 and 50 cfu/2g for Apaola, Ilota and Futu villages, respectively. The increase in the mean microbial load of the kneaded paste when compared with the grounded kernels was attributed to introduction of water and due to certain other activities of the processors. The isolation of microbes from the processed Shea butter obtained from the three study locations was largely as a result of sources of cross-contamination from the processing environment. The results of this study indicate that purity of water, clean processing environment, clean working utensils, use of non-microbe infested Shea kernels and hygienic condition of processors must be regarded as critical factors in the processing of good quality Shea butter.