Assessment of food safety practices among cassava processors in selected rural communities of Oyo State, Nigeria
Food safety assessment is an effective means of discovering knowledge and data gaps that limit effective risk analysis and at the same time providing information to develop public policies on food safety management. The study assessed the cassava food safety practices among cassava processors in selected rural communities of Oyo State. Both qualitative and quantitative research designs were used to examine the following parameters: knowledge, attitude, sources of information and constraints to food safety practices. Focus Group Discussion, In-depth Interview, direct observation and interview schedule were the sources of primary data used. Multi-stage sampling technique was used to select one hundred and fifty-four (154) men and women involved in cassava processing from four Local Government Areas where there is concentration of cassava production and processing activities in the state, namely: Saki-West, Saki-East, Atisbo and Afijio. Data were analyzed using percentage, mean, Analysis of Variance and Chi square. The findings revealed that the mean income was N20,695, majority of the processors have low knowledge (71.4%) and unfavourable attitude (51.3%) towards cassava safety practices. Public sanitary officers (x̅ = 2.61) and fellow processors (x̅ = 2.11) were ranked as the most used sources of information about cassava safety practices. Constraints to food safety practices include: processing is time consuming, the cumbersome nature of the safety practices and inadequate access to clean water. Inferential analysis of results shows that income contributed significantly to the cassava food safety practices (p = 0.04) and safety practices do significantly differ among cassava processors across the selected cassava processors (p = 0.10). However, no significant relationship between sex (p = 0.42), age (p = 0.48), marital status (p = 0.67), educational level (p =0.53), processing experience (p = 0.92) and safety practices of the respondents. Training and effective monitoring by relevant stakeholders will further boost processors’ knowledge and attitudinal change towards food safety and ultimately safe food for the consumers.
Keywords: Assessment, Food, Safety, Practices, Processors, Cassava, Rural, Community
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