HAND HYGIENE PRACTICES AMONG STREET FOOD VENDORS

Alexander Fiifi GHARTEY, Barima Kwabena ANTWI

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to assess the nature and extent of hand hygiene practices in the street food business in selected districts in Southern Ghana. Though street-vended foods have many health and socio-economic benefits, they often pose significant public health risk to consumers. Codex Alimentarius standards identify the hand of the vendor (or the consumer) as a ‘high-risk’ factor or conduit in street food contamination. The study applied cross-sectional descriptive survey with observation of street food vendor practices using a structured questionnaire in a face to face interview of 413 vendors randomly selected. While almost half of vendors (47.9%) were observed to handle food with their bare hands in the selling process, nearly one-fifth of vendors (18.4%) did not wash their hands with water and soap after visiting the toilet. Vendor fingernail hygiene was however not a major risk factor. It is also revealed that there is a significant positive relationship between food vendor’s educational status and proper hand washing practices. It is recommended that respective local authorities in collaboration with other stakeholders be more proactive in the enforcement of food safety regulations regarding hand hygiene and food handling.

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