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Aflatoxins are toxic secondary metabolites produced by Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus that frequently invade foods and feedstuffs. In humid climatic conditions like those found in Kisii County, growth of fungi on dried fish and fish feeds is accelerated due to absorption of moisture from the environment as a result of poor storage and sometimes improper drying. This can lead to creation of favourable conditions for the growth of the toxigenic fungi and consequently production of aflatoxins. This study was conducted to determine the main sources of fungal contamination of selected fresh and dried fish sold in Kisii county, Kenya. Samples of fish were randomly obtained from four main markets in the county. A structured questionnaire was used to determine the sources of fish, mode and hygiene of transportation, handling of fish, duration of storage, hygiene of packaging materials and display environment of fish. Levels of fish contamination were expressed in form of colony forming units per gram (CFU/g) of fish. One-way analysis of variance was used to determine mean differences in parameters analysed. The results revealed that CFU/g of fish from control samples were significantly less than those from fresh and dried fish samples from the various sources (p<0.05). There was generally no significant difference between CFU/g from both fresh and dried fish from the various sources. The study found out that fresh and dried fish sold in Kisii county are contaminated with fungi. There is therefore need for frequent surveillance on the sources of fish contamination and public sensitization of all those involved in fish supply chain. This will help reduce possible aflatoxin contamination thus promoting consumers’ healthy living.
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