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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 10-15

Assessment of the food hygiene practices of food handlers in the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria

1 Department of Community Medicine, Nnamdi Azikiwe University/Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, Nigeria
2 IO Chuks Atlas Health Care Services Ltd, Abuja, Nigeria
3 Department of Community Medicine; HIV Care, Nnamdi Azikiwe University/Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Chinomnso C Nnebue
Department of HIV Care, Department of Community Medicine, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, PMB 5025, Nnewi, Anambra
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DOI: 10.4103/1119-0388.130175

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Background: The principle of food hygiene implies that there should be minimal handling of food items. Food handlers are thus expected to observe proper hygiene and sanitation methods as the chances of food contamination largely depend on their health status and hygiene practices. Objective: This study assessed the food hygiene practices of food handlers and made recommendations for improved food safety measures within food establishments in the Federal Capital Territory. Materials and Methods: The study design was cross-sectional descriptive. A multistage sampling technique was employed to select 168 food handlers of various types. Data was collected using a mix of quantitative methods (structured interviewer-administered questionnaires and observation checklist). Data were analyzed using the statistical package for social sciences version 14. Results: Four categories of food handlers were identified in 45 food establishments. Seventy-one (42.3%) of the subjects are males, whereas 97 (57.7%) are females. Most of them, 122 (72.7%), had secondary education and above, whereas 46 (27.3%) had primary education and below. One hundred and fifty (89.3%) of them wash their hands after the use of toilets, whereas only 44 (26.7%) change their hand gloves at work. One hundred and twenty (71.4%) of them undergo regular medical checkup, whereas 53 (31.5%) are isolated from workplace when ill. A few of them, 51 (30.4%) use sanitizers/disinfectants at workplace, whereas 38 (22.6%) check food temperature with thermometer. Also, 103 (61.3%) use ideal waste disposal methods at workplace (P < 0.01). Conclusion: Establishments should train staff regularly on basic personal hygienic techniques, self care and good house-keeping practices.

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