1.1 Background to the Study
Tomato is an annual vegetable commonly
consumed in Nigeria. It is widely distributed crop which can be grown on
several climates and this confers on the crop its ability to survive at
various temperatures. More than 30% of global tomato is grown from
Mediterranean (Ahmet and Vedat, 2009). According to Powell et al .,
(2003), tomato is grown with a view to consuming it fresh or processing
it into other forms such as paste or puree. A good number of tomato
paste currently sold in Nigeria are mostly supplied from China and other
Studies had shown that lycopene from
processed tomatoes were better absorbed than lycopene from fresh tomato
(Anonymous, 1997). This suggest that processed tomato products such
tomato sauce, tomato paste and ketchup are better sources of this
antioxidant. It has also been reported that lycopene from tomato paste
is 2.5 times more bioavailable in humans than lycopene from fresh
tomatoes especially when boiled with oil, a common medium in which
tomato is prepared in this region of the world (Ahmet and Vedat,
2009).Recents reports have shown that lycopene helps prevent the
development of some cancers, such as prostrate cancer (Anonymous, 1997).
This implies that a commercially sold tomato paste should contain a
good amount of this phytochemicals which should be able to benefit
humans when consumed. Several parameters have been used to assess the
quality of tomato paste. This include, the consistency, total solids
content, titrable acidity, pH and levels of sugar (Ahmet and Vedat 2009;
Lu et al., 2014).
Well structured studies which examine
the quality of different tomato brands sold in Nigeria are limited.
However, available but unvalidated reports have repeatedly shown that
many tomato brands imported into the country were adulterated with
starch and colorants. Umeofia (2016) a leading chief executive in one of
the tomato manufacturing components in Nigeria, has lamented that the
country loses huge sum of money to importation of fake tomato products.
Shehu (2013) also reported that Nigeria had turned into a dumping ground
for fake and low quality tomato products imported from Asia. He further
reported that the pace of importation of adulterated tomato sauce in
the name of tomato paste is of great concern to stake holders in the
1.2 Statement of the problem
The desire for imported goods has driven
many Nigerians to relegate to the background of several products
manufactured locally. Several manufacturers from across the globe have
brought in fake and substandard products into the country believing that
since most Nigerians prefer cheap products to costlier ones, reducing
the quality of such products could attract more purchase and patronage.
This has predisposed the nation to become a dumping ground for several
substandard, fake and unhealthy products.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The major objective of the study is to
assess the quality of commercially available Tomato paste brands in
Nigeria. This is to be achieved through the following specific
(i) the determination of the biochemical properties of the tomato paste brands and
(ii) The microbiological assessment of the tomato paste brands.
1.4 Research Questions
(1) what is food quality?
(2) what are the various commercially available tomato paste brands in Nigeria?
(3) what are the various parameters that can be used for assessing tomato paste?
(4) what is the standard provided by regulatory authority for assessing tomato paste quality?
1.5 Significance of the study
With poor regulatory systems and porous
borders there is no doubt that it is the responsibility of researchers
to generate evidence based data and information which could be helpful
in strengthening regulatory agencies, formulate better policies that
will benefit the nation, improve public health and quality of life of
citizens. Also, considering the lack of documented information on the
quality assessment of commercially available tato paste in Nigeria
market, the information generated would help consumers to make an
informed decision when choosing available products.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The research focuses on the quality assessment of commercially available tomato paste brands in Nigeria.
1.7 Limitations of the Study
Only selected brands of commercially available tomato paste were procured for this research.