Public Health Risk Knowledge, Awareness And Hygiene Practices Of Producers Of Artisanal Drinks Using Previously Disposed Plastic Bottles In Calabar Municipality, Cross River State, Nigeria.
Background: The magnitude of production and sales of unregulated beverages in Nigeria has significantly increased over the years. Several studies have found a high prevalence of pathogenic microorganisms in locally made drink samples which is a threat to public health. This study assessed the knowledge, awareness of public health risks associated with the use of previously disposed plastic bottles for packaging drinks and hygiene practices of producers of artisanal drinks in Calabar Municipality, Nigeria. Methods: The study adopted a descriptive cross-sectional design using a semi-structured questionnaire to elicit information from 166 producers of locally packaged drinks. Data collected were analyzed using SPSS version 25.0. Associations were tested using chi square statistics. Results: The study showed a high level of awareness of food borne diseases 120(73.2%). Majority of the respondents 83(50.8%) had a high level of knowledge on health risks associated with use of previously disposed bottles for packaging drinks. The level of hygiene practice was however not in tandem with Knowledge as the practice level was generally poor 99(60.3%). Majority 114(69.5%) also had a negative attitude towards safe use of previously disposed plastic bottles. There was an association between producers’ duration in business and food hygiene practices (X2= 5.153, P= 0.023). There was also a significant association between producers’ exposure to food hygiene training and food hygiene practice (X2= 49.993, P= 0.0001) Conclusion: There is an urgent need for planned regular food safety training sessions for artisanal drink producers and the regulation of sales of artisanal drinks to safeguard public health in Nigeria.