Food safety and hygiene practices of food vendors on Obafemi Awolowo University Campus, Ile Ife, Nigeria

Omotayo, Sunday Kolawole (2012)

xiv,75 pages


Patronage of food vending premises exposes a significant proportion of students and other members of the academic community to microbial agents and other food related toxins that may have contaminated the food as a result of unwholesome practices by the food handlers/vendors. It is important to have an understanding of the prevailing food safety beliefs, knowledge and practices of food handlers in order to minimize the risk of food borne outbreaks on Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) campus. This study assessed the knowledge and attitudes of food handlers towards food hygiene; their practices of food and personal hygiene and the sanitary status of their vending environment. All food handlers/vendors on OAU campus who gave informed consent to participate were recruited to participate into the study. Data was collected from the food handlers/vendors with a pre-tested interviewer administered questionnaire, which elicited information on the demographic characteristics, knowledge, attitude and practices of food safety. In addition, an observation checklist was used to assess environmental sanitation situation of the food premises. Data was analyzed with STATA 10, using descriptive statistics. A hundred and ninety (86.4%) of the two hundred and twenty vendors recruited eventually participated in the study. Sixty-nine (36.3%) of the respondents were under 30 years. The vendors were predominantly female (81.6%). Whereas 114 (60%) of the respondents had secondary school education and above, 33 (16.4%) respondents never had any education. None of the street food vendors ever had a pre-employment medical screening, and 50% have not had any medical screening at all. Twenty-two (11.6%) respondents were considerably new on the job, with less than a year of working experience. It was however observed that only 17 (9.0%) of the respondents wore a protective clothing; 71 (37.4%) had their heads covered; 7 (3.68%) used rubber gloves while handling food and 14 (7.4%) put on covered shoes. Fifteen respondents (7.9%) had long fingernails and four (2.1%) had open wounds. Utensils were seen unprotected at 70% of the stalls, and potential vectors of communicable diseases were seen in at least 15% of the stalls. Vendors’ training on food safety and hygiene (p=0.00), level of education completed (p=0.00) and number of years of food vending experience (p=0.04) were statistically significant factors affecting the food safety and personal hygiene practices of the vendors on OAU campus. In conclusion, forty-eight (25.3%) of the food handlers/vendors on OAU campus demonstrated good knowledge of food vending requirements. One hundred and fifty nine (83.7%) had positive attitudes towards food and personal hygiene. In addition, 25 (13.2%) were assessed to have good food safety and personal hygiene practices. Environmental assessment of food premises revealed that 8 (20.0%) of the vending stalls had good environmental sanitation status. There is need for health education and promotion among food vendors on OAU campus. Proper regulatory supervision is also recommended, in addition to health education and promotion, this should be targeted at achieving behavioural changes among these very important members of the university community