Ready-to-eat foods (RTEs) are foods consumed without any further processing. They
are widely consumed as choice meals especially by school-aged children and the fastpaced
working class in most low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where they
contribute substantially to the dietary intake. Depending on the type of processing
and packaging material, RTEs could be industrially or traditionally processed. Typically,
RTE vendors are of low literacy level, as such, they lack knowledge about good
hygiene and food handling practices. In addition, RTEs are often vended in outdoor
environments such that they are exposed to several contaminants of microbial origin.
Depending on the quantity and type of food contaminant, consumption of contaminated
RTEs may result in foodborne diseases and several other adverse health effects
in humans. This could constitute major hurdles to growth and development in LMICs.
Therefore, this review focuses on providing comprehensive and recent occurrence and
impact data on the frequently encountered contaminants ofmicrobial origin published
in LMICs within the last decade (2009 to 2018). We have also suggested viable food
safety solutions for preventing and controlling the food contamination and promoting