Hygiene practices among street food vendors in Tamale Metropolis
The transmission of food borne infections is on the increase in developing countries and has been linked to the environmental sanitation, personal and food hygiene level and practices in a community. The activities of food vendors can increase the chances of food contamination with pathogenic microorganisms and mycotoxins. The study was conducted to assess the food hygiene practices among street food vendors in the Tamale Metropolis. Structured questionnaires, interviews and field observations were used to assess the age, educational standard, knowledge, food hygiene practices and environmental sanitation of 150 randomly selected street food vendors in Tamale Metropolis from those who agreed to participate. The study noted that street food business in the Tamale Metropolis was women dominated (76%). Majority of vendors (78%) were aged 20-39 years. Public toilets (pit latrines) were accessible to all vending sites. Though high number of street food vendors had some form of formal education (66%) and knowledge of food hygiene (62.7%) certain practices associated with the services, such as not washing hands with soap (12%), serving cooked food with bare hands (38%) and low participation in medical examination (46.7%) are unacceptable. Street food vendors in Tamale Metropolis need regular health education on standard environmental, personal and food hygiene practices and strict enforcement of environmental and food hygiene regulations to keep street food save for consumers.
Journal of Medical and Biomedical Sciences (2015) 4(3), 25-30
Keywords: Street food, food hygiene practices, personal hygiene, food contamination