Brewing and consumptions practices of indigenous traditional beer in a typical South African semi-urban area
The article is based on a study that aimed to assess the knowledge, attitude, behaviour and practices regarding the food safety and brewing methods applicable to the manufacturing of traditional beer as well as consumer perceptions. A questionnaire survey was conducted among 30 informal brewers and 90 traditional beer consumers. The data indicated that, while brewers were still using the same traditional brewing methods, 75% brewed for commercial purposes instead of traditional reasons. All consumers drank to relieve stress instead of traditional beliefs and were aware of possible toxic ingredients although unconcerned. While the majority of the brewers lacked refrigeration facilities, improper hygiene practices did not appear to be the result of a lack of infrastructure. Fiftyfive percent of brewers washed the containers when dirty, while 45% washed them after use. Unhygienic practices such as failure to cover the hair and wearing jewellery while brewing indicated a lack of knowledge regarding proper hygiene. There is a need to establish and implement awareness programmes pertaining to personal and general hygiene. This, together with regulations governing the licensing of informal brewers, should improve the general hygiene practices, microbial contamination of the beer and contribute to minimising health risks to the traditional beer consumer.
Keywords: Indigenous traditional beer, commercial beer, hygiene practices, indigenous knowledge, traditional beer traders, traditional beer consumers.