According to Motarjemi (2002) raw meat are sources of contamination with various pathogens originating from infected animals. The sources of bacteria in meat are likely to come from the skin, hide or fleece of the animal (Ukut et al., 2010). This occurs when during the time of removal of skins, hides or fleece from the carcass, the surface of the skins, hides or fleece touches the outside of the skin and the carcass thereby transferring significant numbers of micro-organisms to the meat (NDA, 2007). Mostly fresh meats sold in open markets are grossly contaminated with coli form bacteria as well as other bacterial forms (Ukut et al., 2010). For that matter, it is very important to select top quality meats since preparation and processing does not quantitatively increase the contents of foods that make them healthy for consumption (Ohiokpehai, 2003). In determining freshness of meat, it should be firm and elastic to touch, have a characteristics aroma, devoid of decomposed odours and slimness which indicate spoilage caused by bacteria growth on the surface of the meat (McSwane et al., 2000).
Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP)
Increased awareness of the effect of time and temperature control on food safety contributed to the implementation of the HACCP program which is another type of food safety practices in the food service establishment. HACCP is a logical internationally recognized food safety assurance system that centres on process control through structured approach to identify the potential hazards and the preventive strategies to be employed to control the hazard points in a food operation (Egan, Raats, Grubb, Eves, Lumbers, Dean, & Adams, 2007; Bas et al., 2007). It is also described as a systematic approach to the identification, assessment and control of full range of biological, chemical and physical hazards (Ropkins & Beck, 2000; Taylor, 2008; USDA 1999). HACCP is also explained by Taylor (2008), as a vital preventive food safety system intended to be applied and effectively managed to effectively control food hazard. HACCP system is very important in the food industry because it reduces a number of inadequacies or non-conformities of food safety practices in the preparation stage (Veiros, Proença, Santos, Kent-Smith, & Rocha, 2009). It also provides the foundation for identifying where in the preparation process hazards are likely to occur and the possible control measures required to be put in place to curtail the hazards during food processing (Grintzali & Babatsikou, 2010). HACCP is based on an understanding of the factors that contribute to outbreaks of food-borne disease and preventative measures to reduce their occurrence. HACCP is based on the premise that detection of hazards at an early stage, leads to the provision of clear definition of measures and or procedures to be taken to improve poor conditions reducing risk in the food industry (Ehiri & Morris, 1996). HACCP helps to increase safety consciousness at every stage of the food chain process, requiring control of any crucial operation, and ensuring that adequate and effective safety measures are established, maintained and evaluated (Ehiri & Morris, 1996). HACCP is based on seven well-defined, hypothetical risk management principles which have been adopted by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Ehiri & Morris, 1996; FAO and WHO, 2003; Taylor, 2008). These principles are; conduct a hazard analysis; identify the critical control points; establishing critical limits for each critical control point; establishing monitoring procedures; establishing corrective actions; establishing record keeping procedures and establishing verification procedures. Hazard analysis is a way of looking at a food business operation or process and making sure that anything in the food that could harm consumers is controlled (WHO, 1992). Performing a hazard analysis implies taking steps to assess the point of occurrence of potential hazards during the food production process. As such preventive measures are identified to be employed to minimize the hazards (USDA, 1999). For instance the meat and other ingredients use for the preparation of khebab will be examined to identify any hazards during the production processes to determine their risk of causing food-borne illness. Hence for each safety hazard, a safety measure is taken to minimize its occurrence. In ensuring food safety, an appropriate condition such as critical control points (CCPs) during food production process has to be established. The critical control points can be measured on characteristics like temperature, time, moisture level and organoleptic parameters such as visual and texture (WHO, 1996). For instance among the given points where control can be applied in the operations of khebab are freezing of meat to temperatures that will minimize microbial growth; and grilling khebab to specific temperatures in order to destroy microbial pathogens. For each preventive measure associated with a CCP, critical limits involving establishing a standard must be met. Smith (2005) describes this principle as a point where specific cooking, cooling and holding temperatures for food are determined. Critical limits are the utmost or least value to which a hazard must be controlled to prevent, eliminate, or reduce the occurrence of an identified food safety hazard (USAD, 1999). At times, more than one critical limit such as time and temperature will be elaborated at a particular step (WHO, 1996). For instance, a required temperature and time for cooking a meat product is 70°C and should be done for at least 2 minutes to destroy the presence of E. coli O157 (Bolton & Maunsell, 2004). Making certain that each CCP is under control and stays within its limit, monitoring is necessary (Bolton & Maunsell, 2004). Monitoring is the scheduled sequence of observation that measures a CCP with the compliance of critical limit(s) set (WHO, 1996). As such in the instance of monitoring, observations can be done by evaluating the characteristic physical or chemical attributes of foods. For example, khebab monitoring can be done by inspecting incoming raw meat, to detect off-odours, off-colours and abnormal texture like sliminess, coldness or hotness of the product. After monitoring, corrective actions are established if monitoring indicates that a CPP is not within the established limits. Corrective actions are measures taken in response to a deviation from the critical limits to ensure no public health hazard occurs (Bolton & Maunsell, 2004). This action depends on the hazards and assessed severity and risks. An example of a corrective action is to discard the food that had been held too long at an inappropriate temperature or increase cooking and reheating time (Smith 2005; WHO, 1992; WHO, 1996). To ensure that HACCP system is effectively working, verification which is a routine application of methods, procedures, test and other evaluations, is established (FAO, 2001 cited in Febrianto, Abdullah, Yang, 2011; Ropkins & Beck, 2000). As part of confirming the compliance of the HACCP plan, random sample collection, analysis and visual inspection of food production operations are among the verification activity performed (Febrianto et al., 2011). In a nut shell, verification inspection is about determining whether established standard in an establishment are met or not to prevent or lead to the occurrence of food-borne illness.
The risk of food getting contaminated depends largely on the health status of the food handlers. As such the health of the food handlers is extremely important for maintaining the quality of food they prepare and serve (Mohan, Mohan & Raj, 2006). Persons involved in providing food for public consumption could be asymptomatic carriers of food-borne infections organisms (Walker et al., 2003). As such according to Musa and Akande (2002), the medical examination of food vendors is a common way of regulating food vendors in order to prevent and control the contamination of food by the vendors and the transfer of communicable diseases contracted by the vendors’ to consumers of foods they produce. The WHO and FDA recommends that food handlers suffering from any illness or symptoms of illness such as jaundice, diarrhoea, vomiting, fever, persistent sneezing, coughing, or a runny nose, sore throat, skin rash or skin lesions such as boils or cuts, should abstain from handling food (FDA, 200; Kitagwa, 2005). By guaranteeing the provision of sound wholesome foods, a routine complete physical and medical examination and the acquisition of a medical certificate as a proof for undergoing the examination by food handlers are crucial. Medical examination is a public health requirement which has to be carried out by all persons who come into contact with food in the food service sectors of the tourism and hospitality industry (Ackah et al., 2011; CCMA, 2012; FAO, 1999; GTA, 2012). Other diseases to be medically examined include typhoid, Human Immune Deficiency Virus and Hepatitis A (CCMA, 2012).
Knowledge on food safety and practices
Knowledge is the capability to acquire, retain and use information as well as a mixture of understanding, experience, discernment and skill. Practice is also the application of rules and knowledge that leads to action (Kaliyaperumal, 2004). Food safety knowledge and practices are important to prevent food-borne illness. As such, according to FAO (1995), it is important that all food handlers have the basic hygienic knowledge and skills in food handling. All food handlers should have a good working knowledge of hygienic and safety practices in addition to understanding the role of food in the transmission of food-borne illness. Knowledge can only come about when ones knowledge on current practices, influence his/her willingness to change the practices base on the fact that these practices are unsafe (McIntosh, Christensen, & Acuff, 1994). But according to Rennie (1995), changes in food handling practices cannot occur with the influence of knowledge alone. Good practice which according to Kaliyaperumal (2004) is an art that is linked to the progress of knowledge and technology when implemented in a principled way is also important. Muyanja, Nayiga, Brenda, and Nasinyama (2011) conducted a survey concerning three districts in Uganda to assess the practices, knowledge and risk factors of street food vendors in respect to food safety and hygiene. The study investigated 225 vendors through the use of structured questionnaires administered, a checklist and a focus group discussion. The findings from the study revealed about 30% out of 78 vendors in Masaka district wore apron during their operations and 32. 9% cover their hairs. On the issue of food storage, only 8% of the vendors from the district refrigerate their foods. Martins (2006), also conducted a study to determine the socio-economic and hygiene features of 200 street food vendors and 800 consumers. From the study, 61% of the vendors wore a full apron, but 34. 5% were those with their hairs covered. Meanwhile 81% of those wearing protective clothing changed them daily. Also it was found that 91% of the vendors had short/cleaned fingernails and hands free from sores. Thirty two percent of the vendors had jewellery/bangles on their arm. Forty one percentage handled food and money without washing hands in between and 87. 5% used separate utensils for raw materials and cooked food. Ramírez et al., (2011) also evaluated the level of knowledge and compliance of Mexican Food Code among 127 hospital foodservice employees in Guadalajara, México. Findings from the study revealed that 59. 3% of the food handlers practiced food safety. Seventy five percent of the handlers indicated that they wash their hands after using the toilet. But 60% were those who washed their hands thoroughly with soap and hot water before handling foods. Fifty two stated always using gloves during food preparation. Al-Khatib and Al-Mitwalli (2009) in addition investigated knowledge and practices about food safety using 308 food handlers in restaurants in Ramallah and Al-Bireh district of Palestine. The discovery from the study also specify that most of the food handlers reported always washing their hands before starting work, when handling uncooked and cooked foods, and after using the toilet. With regards to the way they washed their hands, 76. 5% reported using water and soap. On the subject of food handlers’ health during food handling, 56. 0% reported they do not work when they are sick. Besides, Mukhopadhyay et al., (2012) conducted a study to assess the self-reported behaviour of food handlers on personal hygiene and food safety practices in Kolkata. Sixty-seven food handlers working in different eateries inside a hospital were used for the study. The results from the study showed that 95. 5% of the respondents practiced hand washing after going to toilet and 79. 1% washed their hands before preparing food. Fifty one percent wore jewelleries on their hand while preparing food. Thirty three percent handled food with bare hands in spite of having cuts/injuries on hands and 22. 4% continued their work even if they suffered from illnesses like diarrhoea, sore throat or skin diseases. Sixty three percent reportedly used a common knife for cutting raw flesh foods and without washing, used it for cutting other foods. Furthermore, a study was conducted to assess the knowledge, attitudes and practices of food handlers in food kiosks in relation to food hygiene in Eldoret Municipality in Kenya (Kitagwa, 2005). The results of the study showed that majority of the respondents (food handlers) representing 93. 44% had the knowledge that it was necessary to wash hands before handling food. Fifty eight percent knew of washing their hands after visiting toilet. Their knowledge on hand washing during handling of different foods was represented as 47. 54. On the issue of medical examination, it was reported that all the food handlers were aware of medical examination and issued with health certificates relating to the operations. Again, a study on routine medical examination of food vendors in secondary schools in Ilorin revealed that out of 185 food vendors selected for the study, 76. 2% had medical test done before selling food, while the remaining 23. 8% did not do it. However, most of these vendors after the initial medical examination did not go for periodic examination (Musa & Akande, 2002). Abdalla et al., (2009) conducted a study to evaluate the food safety knowledge and practices of 50 street food vendors in Atbara city. It was shown that 74% of the vendors’ agreed they must wash their hands when handkerchiefs are used. Sixty two percent agreed they must wash their hands when money is touched during food handling. Also the vendors (94. 0%) agreed on the decision that they must not operate if they are sick. A study conducted by Campbell (2011) to assess the knowledge, attitudes and practices of street food vendors in the city of Johannesburg regarding food hygiene and safety. The findings from the study indicated that the street vendors’ knowledge on temperature control was good with 83 % having the awareness that cooked foods need to be served hot. The vendors (73%) knew it was important to keep foods at safe temperatures. Eighty nine percent had knowledge on the correct storage of foods to prevent cross contamination while 78% knew that it was important to wash utensils to prevent cross contamination. However, ensuring that fresh and quality ingredients are bought was always done by 87% of the vendors while eighty nine percent (89%) of vendors always observed the practice of separating raw and cooked foods to prevent cross contamination. Omemu and Aderoju (2008) conducted a study to determine food safety knowledge and practices of 87 street food vendors in the city of Abeokuta, Nigeria. The study illustrated that 70% of the vendors had no knowledge on the need to wash hands after handling money while 76% of the vendors knew that it was necessary to wash their hands after visiting the toilet. As such less than 40% of the vendors do not realized the necessity to use soap always for hand washing. Ninety four percent did not see the need to wash their hands after scratching their bodies. But over 60% agreed on thorough washing of the food before cooking and adequate cooking of the food. Ninety percent of the vendors cooked and sold their foods after several hours of preparation. But 37% reheated the cooked foods before selling. Olayinka et al., (2008) evaluated the microbial hazards associated with the processing of suya on six suya spots in South-western Nigeria. The study discovered that the suya processors were all middle-aged illiterate men. They were without any kind of formal education and training in food preparation which is necessary and important for hygienic handling of foods as indicated by FAO, (1999). It was observed that all the processors used bare hands to handle both food and money simultaneously. The surroundings were considered unhygienic with littered garbage and dirty wastes attracting houseflies. None of the processors washed their raw meat before preparing the suya. Slabs and trays used for cutting and sticking were inadequately cleaned. It was again revealed that the prepared suya samples were not covered but left exposed to flies and dust during display. They were kept at ambient temperature and the reheating temperature was less than 70°C. Chukuezi (2010) conducted a study on food safety and hygienic practices of 63 street food vendors in Owerri, Nigeria. She noted in her findings that some of the food vendors (85. 71%) prepared food on the same surface more than twice by first cleaning it. A survey on the preparation surfaces representing 33. 33% was dirty. Twenty four percent of the vendors prepared food in unhygienic conditions. Only 42. 86% used aprons while cooking or serving food while 47. 62% handled food with bare hands. Fifty three percent wore hair covering and 19. 05% wore jewellery while handling food. It was observed that 61. 90% of the vendors were handling money while serving food while 47. 62% also washed their utensils with dirty water which is recycled and used severally. Ackah et al., (2011) conducted a study to assess the knowledge in food hygiene and best food safety practices among 50 street-food vendors in some parts of Accra-Ghana. Eighty percent of the vendors were found to be aware that it was necessary to wash their hands when handkerchief is used for sneezing. With regards to hand washing, 96% felt that the use of soap is always necessary for hand washing. However, 62% also felt that disinfectants are necessary for keeping the hands clean. Eighty four had the knowledge for the need to wash hands after handling money while 88% knew that it was necessary to wash hands after visiting the toilet. Forty percent acquired the certificate for medical examination and reasons such as lack of funds, non-awareness and lack of strict enforcement from authorities were given as reasons preventing the acquisition of the certificate by those without it. With a particular regards to application of food safety measures, Donkor, Kayang, Quaye, and Akyeh (2009) assessed the application of the WHO keys of safer food to improve food handling practices of 127 food vendors in a poor resource community in Ghana. Ninety two percent of the vendors mentioned that they always washed their hands after using the toilet. A total of 86. 6% of the food vendors washed their hands with water and soap. Fifty eight percent fairly ensured personal hygiene in their practices. During food preparation, 98% used clean surfaces to various extents and 35% always used separate sets of equipment for raw and cooked food. On the practice of storing raw and cooked food separately, 27% of the vendors always stored raw and cooked food separately with 55. 9% using the refrigeration facilities for food storage. A study was conducted using questionnaire, interviews, observation and microbial count analysis by Amissah and Owusu (2012) to assess the influence of hygienic practices of food vendor on microbial quality of food sold on and around Koforidua Polytechnic campus in Ghana. The outcome of the study indicated that 23. 8% out of 21 food vendors had training in food hygiene and safety. In addition, 0. 0% of the vendors had undergone medical examination. The vendors (28. 6%) cover their hair during food preparation. All the vendors washed their hands after visiting the toilet. But 61. 9% washed their hands with cold water and soap instead of warm water and soap which are idea. Interestingly, 85. 7% did not expose their food to flies and dust which may indicate their knowledge that food exposed to flies cause contamination.
Perception of food safety
Perception is the process by which individual feelings are selected, organized and interpreted (Ventura-Lucas, 2004). In other words, when a person comes across a situation that person interprets the situation into something meaningful to him or her based on prior experiences. Although, what an individual interprets or perceives may be substantially different from reality. The way a person behaves in any given situation is predicted by the person behavioural intensionwhich is based on the perceived behavioural control of the person to perform the behaviour (Ajzen. 1991). Brannon, York, Roberts, Shanklin and Howells (2009) ascertains that food workers perceptions of their real or perceived ability to perform behaviour will influence their behaviours directly. As such, according to Clayton et al. (2002), to improve hygiene, food handlers need to develop a positive hygienic perception to reduce the risk of food-borne diseases. In other words the chance of increasing the implementation of food safety practices relies on healthier perceptions about the need to practice food safety (Redmond & Griffith, 2003). A study focusing specifically on food vendors’ perception of food safety was conducted by Rheinländer, Olsen, Bakang, Takyi, Konradsen, and Samuelsen (2008) on the topic perceptions of street food safety in Urban Kumasi, Ghana. The researchers came out with the finding that, perceptions of food safety and hygiene among the food vendors was highly influenced by values of neatness and appearance. Mostly the emphasis was on aesthetic appearance of the food, the food stand and the appearance of the vendor. This implies that the vendors’ perceptions of food safety were clearly devoid of microbiological notions of hygiene or health risks of food safety. Instead, they are shaped by strong sensorial, social, and normative dimensions of food quality.
Barriers to the adoption of food safety practices
Factors contributing to the violation of appropriate food safety practices in the hospitality industry have been outlined in several studies. A study conducted by Green and Selman (2005) in identifying factors that impact food workers’ and managers’ safe food preparation practices showed evidence of a number of factors the participants branded to frustrate their ability to prepare food safely. These comprise of time pressure; structural environments, equipment and resource. In addition, management do not emphasizing on food safety; worker characteristics; negative consequences for those who do not prepare food safely; food safety education and training; restaurant procedures; and glove use. Another study carried out by Hertzman and Barrash (2007) assessed the food safety knowledge and practices of catering employees in Las Vegas, a city in the South-western United States. The study revealed the employees were mostly knowledgeable about food safety, but did not practice proper food safety during the catering functions. Some of the food safety violations exhibited by the employees were improper covering of foods in warming and/or refrigeration units, not washing hands, not checking food temperatures, and not wearing gloves when required by the employees. A reason mentioned to have contributed to these violations were the busy schedules of the food handlers trying to complete their basic dealings of food preparations and services. As a result, they either consciously or unconsciously defy proper food safety and sanitation practicesHowells, Roberts, Shanklin, Pilling, Brannon, and Barrett (2008) conducted another study on restaurant employees’ perceptions of barriers to three food safety practices. The researchers discovered factors such as time constraint, inadequate training/knowledge as barriers preventing the practicing of food safety. In addition are the employees experiencing of dry skin after washing of hands and the use of sinks in inconvenient locations. More barriers were identified in the study as lack of space and other tasks competing with cleaning work surfaces; no incentive or desire to perform the practice, and the inconvenience to perform the practices. Pragle, Harding, and Mack (2007) discussed food workers’ perspectives on hand washing behaviours and barriers in the restaurant environment with food handler focus groups in two Oregon counties. The barriers declared were problems with the availability of supplies and the accessibility of sinks; time pressure, high volume of business, and stress; lack of accountability; type of catering establishments; and inadequate food handler training. Lastly, a study was conducted by York, Brannon, Shanklin, Roberts, Barrett, and Howells (2009) to assess intervention to improve restaurant employees’ food safety compliance rates. Lack of food safety training was recognized as a barrier perceived by food service employees related to complying with food safety guidelines in a study by conducted.
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