KNOWLEDGE AND PRACTICE OF FOOD HYGIENE AMONG FOOD VENDORS
Background of the study: Food is an important basic necessity that is essential for the health and well-being of humans and so if the proper food handling and preparation processes are not followed it might pose health risks to the consumer. Pupils in schools can be exposed to infections and possible complications; gastroenteritis can impair digestion and absorption of nutrients and the perception or fear about poor food hygiene practices might result in pupils rejecting food.
Objective: The overall objective of this study was to establish knowledge levels and practices of food safety among food handlers in selected secondary schools in Ilorin, Kwara State
Methodology: A descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out in Ilorin, 10 secondary schools involving 103 food handlers. Schools were selected using a simple random selection to get equal respondents. An interviewer-administered questionnaire and key informant interview guide were used to collect qualitative and quantitative data which was entered in SPSS for descriptive, bivariate, and multivariate analysis.
Results: Safe food was found to be at 20.4% among the food handlers in the selected schools in Ilorin. Three independent factors were found to be significantly associated with food safety; formal training (p=0.00), level of knowledge (p=0.00), and use of protective coverings (p=0.00).
Conclusion: The safety of food in Ilorin is at stake with only 20.4% safe food among secondary schools. This implies that pupils in these schools are at risk of contracting food-borne diseases. The low percentage of safe food is attributed to a lack of formal training among food handlers regarding food safety, lack of adequate knowledge on best practices of food, and failure to wear protective clothing while conducting food processes
KNOWLEDGE AND PRACTICE OF FOOD HYGIENE AMONG FOOD VENDORS
This chapter introduces this study by spelling out the background to the study, the statement of the problem, the research objectives, the research questions, the significance of this study, and the conceptual framework.
1.1 Background to study
Food hygiene is an important part of public health since it helps to avoid foodborne infections and ensure food safety. Food vendors, who operate in a variety of locations such as street food stalls, marketplaces, and mobile food carts, provide ready-to-eat food to a huge percentage of the population. However, poor food hygiene knowledge and practice among food vendors can lead to food contamination, resulting in foodborne infections that can harm consumers’ health. As a result, it is critical to assess the degree of food hygiene knowledge and practice among food vendors to identify potential risks and implement suitable interventions to improve food safety.
Globally, Food is an important basic necessity that is essential for the health and well-being of humans. Therefore, ensuring safe food handling and preparation is of paramount importance. Foodborne diseases remain a major public health problem (Abdalla MA, 2008)in developed countries, up to an estimated 70% of cases of diarrheal disease are associated with the consumption of unwholesome food (Annor GA, 2011). Food contamination can occur at any point during its preparation, bringing to bear the importance of food safety and hygiene in the prevention of food-borne diseases (Chukuezi, 2011).
Apart from the USA, other developed countries also experienced the burden of Foodborne Diseases (FBDs). In Turkey, for instance, a total of 23,010 cases of dysentery were reported in 1997. (Green L, 2005)In Emilia-Romagna, a single region in Italy, 1564 episodes of foodborne diseases were reported between 1988 and 2000 (Ismail Z, 2013). A national survey done by the British government in 2009 revealed that outbreaks of food poisoning had serious financial and social implications (Abdalla MA, 2008). The survey further added that Salmonella alone caused 1939 food-related illnesses (Acheson, 2011). In the same vein, indicated that about one million people suffer from food poisoning every year at an estimated cost of $ 1.5 million annually (Annor GA, 2011). Another observation by Rona Ambrose,
Minister of Health in Canada (2014), also reported that although Canada boasted of the safest and healthiest food safety systems in the world, the Government was still committed to strengthening food safety by giving tough penalties and cracking down on those that did not comply with food safety measures.
In industrialized countries, infected food handlers are an important source of food-borne diseases. Ingestion of infected food can result in mild to severe illness, hospitalization, or even death. Diseases with short incubation periods are more likely to be detected and attributed unless otherwise stated to infected food than those with longer incubation periods where the individual may not associate their illness with ingestion of infected food. Bakhiet A (2008).
In developing countries, particularly in most African countries, a change in socioeconomic setting had resulted in multiple food safety challenges (Green, 2003). Green pointed out that between 70% and 90% of employees in Africa were in the food trade. These traders were said to significantly influence the prevalence of Foodborne Diseases (FBDs) in their respective countries. (Ismail Z, 2013)added that availability, distribution, and maintenance of an adequate supply of potable water and nutritious food were the major challenges to most of these countries. Moreover, inadequate sanitation and physical facilities were said to contribute to lower aesthetic standards, resulting in contaminated food and water (Annor GA, 2011). In Africa, poverty is the underlying cause of consumption of unsafe food. Lack of access to potable water, poor government structural arrangement, communicable diseases, trade pressure, and inconvenient environmental conditions are notable reasons. High incidences of diarrheal diseases among children are indications of the food hygiene situation in the African region. (Jevsnik M, 2008)
In Kenya, like other countries was not exempted from the burden of FBDs. According to (Chukuezi, 2011), up to 70% of all diarrhoeal episodes were attributed to ingestion of contaminated food and water. This study viewed training intervention of food handling personnel as a solution not only in Kenya but also in Africa and other developing countries struggling with food safety challenges. It was against this backdrop that this study aimed at comparing food safety and hygiene practices in training colleges to ascertain their capacity in training food safety and hygienic practices. (Annor GA, 2011).
In Nigeria, how, a food handler is a person with any job that requires him/her to handle unpackaged foods or beverages and be involved in preparing, manufacturing, serving, inspecting, or even packaging food and beverage items. All food handlers are required to use proper hygiene and sanitation methods when working with food. Food hygiene is the set of basic principles employed in the systematic control of the environmental conditions during production, packaging, delivery/transportation, storage, processing, preparation, selling, and serving of food in such a manner as to ensure that food is safe to consume and is of good keeping quality. However, food itself can pose a health threat, a problem that is serious in developing countries due to difficulties in securing optimal hygienic food handling practices. This is because an adequate supply of safe, wholesome, and healthy foods is essential for the health and well‑being of humans (Ababio and Lovat 2014). Foodborne diseases are major health problems in developed and developing countries.
The World Health Organization estimated that in developed countries, up to 30% of the population suffers from food-borne diseases each year, whereas in developing countries up to 2 million deaths are estimated per year. Every day people all over the world get sick from the food they eat. This sickness is called food-borne disease and is caused by dangerous microorganisms and/or toxic chemicals. Millions of people become sick each year and thousands die after eating contaminated or mishandled foods (Green L, 2005). Food handlers with poor personal hygiene working in food establishments could be potential sources of infections of many intestinal helminths, protozoa, and pathogenic bacteria. Food handlers are anyone who works in a food and drink establishment and who handles food or contact with any equipment or utensils that are likely to be in contact with food, such as cutlery, plates, bowls, or chopping boards. (Jevsnik M, 2008)In Ilorin, Food hygiene in the selected secondary schools can acquire peculiar features: indeed, many pupils could be more vulnerable than healthy subjects to microbiological and nutritional risks; large numbers of persons can be exposed to infections and possible complications; gastroenteritis can impair digestion and absorption of nutrients and the perception or fear about poor food hygiene practices might result in patients rejecting the meals supplied by the hospital catering (Abdalla MA, 2008).
1.2 Statement of the problem
Foodborne diseases present a serious challenge to public health in Ilorin. Studies done in selected secondary schools have indicated that the majority of reported foodborne diseases originate in food service establishments (Green L, 2005), and studies on foodborne disease risk factors have indicated that most outbreaks associated with food service establishments can be attributed to food handlers„ improper food preparation practices (Friedman et al., 2004). Additionally, observational studies have shown that food handlers frequently engage in unsafe food preparation practices (Clayton and Griffith, 2004,). The public health objective of food hygiene and safety is the prevention of illness attributable to the consumption of food. The principle of food hygiene implies that there should be minimal handling of food items. Food handlers are thus expected to observe proper hygiene and sanitation methods as the chances of food contamination largely depend on their health status and hygiene practices. Despite efforts in place by Nigeria’s Food and drug authority and integration of the food and nutrition in the school health programs, morbidities, and mortalities have been associated with the consumption of contaminated foodstuffs (Havelaar et al,2010). If nothing is done to combat this problem in schools, it will lead to increased morbidity, school absenteeism, low grades, school dropouts, and the consequential increased illiteracy among future adults which also leads to increased dependency and low economic productivity in the long run. The main objective of this study is to establish knowledge and practices of food safety among food handlers in Ilorin to initiate specific food provider improvement services for the maintenance of health among school children.
1.3 General objective
To establish knowledge levels and practices of food hygiene among food vendors in selected secondary schools in Ilorin, Kwara State
1.3.1 Specific objectives
- To determine the socio-demographic characteristics of food vendors in selected secondary schools in Ilorin, Kwara State.
- To assess knowledge of food hygiene among food vendors in selected secondary schools in Ilorin, Kwara State.
- To investigate practices on food hygiene among food vendors in selected secondary schools in Ilorin, Kwara State.
1.3.2 Research questions
- What are the socio-demographic characteristics of food vendors in selected secondary schools in Ilorin, Kwara State?
- What is the level of knowledge on food hygiene handling among vendors in selected schools in Ilorin, Kwara State?
- What are the current practices on food hygiene among food vendors in selected schools in Ilorin, Kwara State?
1.4 Significance of the Study
This will add to knowledge among scholars on matters regarding school health programs and intended interventions can be planned as per evidence-based findings.
The findings obtained will be relevant in determining the most appropriate measures for eradication of agents of food contamination and educating the food vendors on adherence to and maintenance of standards regarding food hygiene.
KNOWLEDGE AND PRACTICE OF FOOD HYGIENE AMONG FOOD VENDORS,