Small and micro enterprises – aspects of knowledge, attitudes and practices of managers\' and food handlers\' knowledge of food safety in the proximity of Tygerberg Academic Hospital, Western Cape

  • M Marais
  • N Conradie
  • D Labadarios


Objective. This study determined hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) awareness among managers of food-producing small and micro enterprises (SMEs) as well as selected aspects of the knowledge, attitude and practices of respective food handlers regarding food safety. Setting. SMEs within a 30 km range of Tygerberg Academic Hospital. Methods. SMEs were divided into two categories: those providing food to clients at risk of illness (N = 64) and to clients free of illness (N = 81). SMEs were randomly selected and managers/employees completed validated questionnaires regarding HACCP (145 managers) and food safety (159 food handlers). Results. Only 6% of managers reported awareness of HACCP being mandatory in South Africa. More than 70% of managers and food handlers had received no formal training regarding food safety. The perception that food safety control should focus on general cleanliness still prevailed among 57.2% of managers. Food handlers achieved an unsatisfactory score (46.0%) on the basic principles of food safety. Ignorance among food handlers regarding important risk factors was as follows: ways of identifying contaminated food likely to cause food poisoning (77.5%), period of keeping prepared food safe (50.9%), correct way of cooling food (63.1%) or reheating food (84.9%), reason for checking date codes (68.1%) and use of a thermometer (90.6%). There was no significant difference in the results obtained between food handlers in SMEs providing food to healthy clients or clients at risk of illness. Conclusion. Creating awareness and understanding of HACCP among managers of SMEs and education regarding the control of risk factors remain crucial.

South African Journal Clinical Nutrition Vol. 20 (2) 2007: pp. 50-61

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