Application of the WHO five keys of food safety to improve food handling practices of food vendors in a poor resource community in Ghana
Aim: To apply the WHO five keys of food safety in evidence based training programme for food vendors to improve the handling of street food.
Methods: A total of 127 food vendors in Accra, the capital city of Ghana were sampled for interviews. Data collection from the vendors focused on (i) food handling practices (ii) environmental and personal hygiene (iii) risk factors of oro-faecal transmission. The data obtained from the study was analysed and utilised alongside the WHO Food Safety Training manual in a training workshop for the food vendors. Food handling practices of the vendors were re-assessed after the training workshop to assess the impact of the training.
Results: The main risk factor of oro-faecal transmission was the washing of food utensils with water that been used for hand washing
after toilet attendance. Based on environmental and personal hygiene of the vendors, which were assessed by cleanliness, 16.5% and 4.7% respectively were scored as poor. Generally, majority of the food vendors practiced the WHO five keys of food safety, including keeping clean, separating raw and cooked food, cooking thoroughly, keeping food at safe temperature, and using safe water and raw materials. However, only a small proportion seems to practice them constantly. Impact assessment of the food safety training given to the vendors, showed that 60.5% of the vendors had acquired some knowledge from the workshop and were putting it into practice.
Conclusion: Generally, food vendors have information on food safety such as hygiene and disease prevention. However, they require an impulse such as a training workshop to put knowledge on food safety into practice.