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Practices for food safety, sanitary conditions and food handling by street food vendors in the suburbs of Mumbai city

Author: 
Dr. Rekha Battalwar and Bhaswati Batabyal
Subject Area: 
Life Sciences
Abstract: 

Objective: To evaluate practices for food safety, sanitary conditions and food handling by street food vendors Methods: A cross sectional study was conducted in 100 street food vendors in Andheri (East and West) suburb of Mumbai city. A pre-structured questionnaire was used for interview and observation of food vendors to access the food safety and sanitary conditions. Results: Of the 100 vendors, 2% vendors washed hands before every customer, 12% reported that ready to serve food was kept in closed contained/ protected shelf, 3% reported that place to keep ready to serve food is very clean, 5% stalls had no animals or pets evident around the stall, 5% had proper cleanliness of vending stall, 4% had hand washing facilities available, 63% stalls had clean environment, 4% vendors washed their hands in clean water each time before handing food, 10% vendors used an apron when handling food, 48% vendors clothes were clean, none of the vendor used gloves, 37% vendors had clean short nails, 3% vendors covered hair when handling, preparing and serving food, 48% vendors did not the same utensil to prepare raw and cooked food products and 38% washed cutting board with soap and rinsed in hot water to kill bacteria. Of the 100 vendors, 2% cleaned food preparation surface whenever they washed up, 3% at the end of the day, 1% once a week, 35% when it looked dirty whereas 59% washed it before they prepared food. A significant association was found between frequency of changing oil and age group with higher percentage of vendors above 31 years of age changing oil everyday as compared to those below 30 years of age (χ2=12.133, p=0.016). Significantly higher percentage of vendors aged 31 years and above washed chopping board with soap and rinsed in hot water to kill bacteria as compared to vendors less than 30 years of age (p=0.002). There was no significant difference for other food safety and sanitary practices when vendors were classified according to age group (p>0.05) Conclusion: Food safety, sanitary condition and food handling practices are not adequate among street food vendors in Mumbai city. Educational programs need to be developed to educate street food vendors regarding appropriate street food handling practices.

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