Socio-economic and hygiene features of street food vending in Gauteng
AbstractObjectives. The objectives of the study were firstly to determine the health risks associated with street food vending, secondly to determine the opinions of street food customers on street food vendors, and thirdly to determine how street food vending contributes to the livelihood of street food vendors.
Design. Primary research was done among 200 street food vendors and 800 of their customers in South Africa, and 200 samples were taken of the food itself. Socio-economic profiles of the street food vendors were compiled and the hygiene practices followed by them in preparing and serving the food were investigated. Customers were interviewed and their reasons for buying street foods as well as their experiences in consuming street foods were noted. Street food samples were tested to assess the microbiological safety of these foods.
Setting. The study was conducted in the metropolitan areas of Gauteng in South Africa.
Results. The survey showed a high hygiene standard maintained by most vendors during preparation and serving of the foods, while the microbiological tests showed relatively low microbiological counts. The study indicated that the health risks of consuming street foods are minimal, that street food vendors depend on vending for their livelihood and that their customers appreciate their trade.
Conclusion. It is essential that poor people in a developing country such as South Africa be allowed to earn their livelihood by means of an ‘easy-to-enter' business such as street food vending when hygiene standards are acceptable.
South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition Vol. 19(1) 2006: 18-25
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