Food safety and hygiene practices in the informal outlets (a case study of food kiosks in Kibera slums, Nairobi)
Monica, A. Wandolo
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This study was undertaken to investigate the food safety and hygiene practices in the kiosks in Nairobi. Kiosks play a major role of creating employment opportunities to many people owing to the high demand for cheap and reliable, food especially in the slums. However, health hazards from the un-abated mushrooming of these outlets in the urban centers should not be ignored. Kiosk owners concentrate on profit making at the expense of the health of consumers thus creating challenges such as lack of portable water, inadequate structures and poor sanitary conditions among others. This has led to outbreaks of food borne diseases like Typhoid and Cholera in the slums. The objective of this study was to isolate and identify Salmonella typhi and E. coli in order to determine the risk factors in selected beans and sukumawiki. It also highlighted the predisposing factors that lead to food contamination. A descriptive crosssectional study was therefore carried out in Kibera slums in Nairobi area. A total of 204 kiosks in the area were used as a sample population. Questionnaires and interview guides were used to assess the respondent's perception and knowledge of food safety in relation to hygiene practices. Respondents were selected using purposive and random sampling. An observation checklist was used to assess good hygiene practices (GHP). The study also used experimental design where about 50 samples each of beans and sukumawiki were analysed in the laboratory for coliform, E. coli, salmonella and aerobic plate count. Predisposing factors were surveyed and quantitative analysis done with the aid of SPS Computer package. Quantitative research used ANOVA at 95% level of confidence. The T-Test and Chi-Square were used to analyze the differences in micro-organism levels in the two food samples. Observation findings revealed that possible contamination could occur due to insufficient food hygiene practices such as not covering food, improper storage and, poor personal hygiene practices by food handlers such as use of dirty hands and sneezing over food, inadequate environmental hygiene such as open drainages, dilapidated structures, unhealthy waste disposal methods and use of dirty equipment and water. The lab results indicated that both beans and sukumawiki had E. coli and coliform present to a level of concern while Salmonella typhi was not isolated. S. typhi was used to confirm the prevalence of the endemic typhoid fever in the slum areas. E. coli was used to confirm whether food contamination is a result of faecal pollution and poor waste disposal practices. This was to confirm whether the theory of wrap and throw (flying toilets) poses a risk to foods in the kiosks within the slums. In conclusion, the presence of E. coli at 44° C was an indication of recent human faecal contamination, an indication of poor sanitation. The study therefore recommends that the Government through the Ministry of health take affirmative approach to ensure that kiosk vendors comply with the safety measures and consumer ethics as stipulated by the Codex Alimentarious guidelines to facilitate the provision of clean food that is less contaminated.