To determine hygiene and microbial contamination of minimally processed fruits as street foods in Central Ward, Nairobi County
Ndiege, Mercy A.
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Despite numerous benefits of minimally processed fruits vended as street foods, it has been recognized that they can be a source of foodborne illnesses that can majorly result from poor hygiene practices and unsanitary conditions at fruit vending points. The main objective of the study was to assess the hygiene status and microbial contamination in fruit vending businesses in Nairobi central ward. The study was cross sectional with analytical component and through purposive sampling, 223 willing street food vendors from 7 clusters in the Central ward were selected for the study. Fifty two fruit samples of four fruit categories sold by different vendors in each cluster were pooled and homogenized, and a serving of each fruit typed weighed and analyzed in duplicate in the laboratory. The data collection tools utilized included a structured questionnaire and an observation checklist which were prepared using codex food hygiene and safety principles. Data collected was analyzed using SPSS version 21, Genstat 13th edition and Excel spreadsheet. Chi-square, and Kruskal Wallis tests were used to establish relationship between dependent and independent variables. All the significant tests for the hypothesis were at 95% confidence level (p< 0.05). Food hygiene knowledge and hygiene practice levels were ranked according to Bloom cut off points on calculated scores, where scores were converted to 100%. Based on the sum scores, Food hygiene knowledge and practice was classified as good (>80%); average (60-80%) and poor (0-59%). Food hygiene knowledge and practices were significantly different in the clusters (p>0.05) with vendors in City market and CBD having the highest Food Hygiene Knowledge score while vendors in Uhuru Park and OTC having the highest Food Hygiene Practice score. Hygiene status was not significantly associated (p>0.05) with either food hygiene knowledge or practice. Time period of experience was found to be significantly associated with hygiene status (p>0.05). The major sanitary deficiencies that were identified included no drying racks for cleaned utensils, (55%) lack of uniforms, (54%) vendors wearing jewelry (74%) while working, lack of training, (83%) lack of medical certificates (73%) and cracks and crevices on work surfaces (87%), presence of garbage and waste near stalls, (68%) uncovered dustbins, (95%) and presence of houseflies (25%). Expressed in log10 colony forming units/gram, high bacterial load counts, highest mean (log10 5.32cfu/g) were seen in fruit salad samples. High coliform load counts mean (log10 0.08) were seen in all the fruit samples indicating contamination with fecal matter, while high mold and yeast counts were found in fruit salad and pineapple samples. The null hypothesis was accepted. Compared to other similar studies, low levels of hygiene knowledge and practice were reported. The government should formulate a policy on ready-to-eat food vending as part of street food policy.