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Consumer Awareness of Safe Food Handling by Food Service Establishments in Calabar, Nigeria
Abstract: Consumer awareness of safe food handling in food service establishments was investigated. The survey was carried out using 500 questionnaires administered at different food establishments in Calabar, Nigeria. The return rate of questionnaires was 74%. The survey result revealed that people who eat out regularly claimed that the standard of food hygiene in food establishments was important to them when deciding where to dine. 67% of respondents had concerns/ complaints about the hygiene standards of food establishments they used. 78% of consumers believed that they have the right to receive information on hygiene standards of eating places. Most would welcome a reliable system to help them judge hygiene standards. About 65% thought there was inadequate consumer information on hygiene standard of eating places. If access to information was made easier, 59% of respondents claimed they would eat out more often. Respondents preferred the use of scores to inform them on hygiene standards. Generally, consumers claimed to be unaware of food safety standards in food service establishments. The result therefore showed that the Nigerian consumer basically judged food safety in terms of sensory perception and lacked any form of judgment based on microbiological safety.