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ASSESSMENT OF FOOD OF HYGIENE PRACTICE IN EFON LOCAL GOVERNMENT OF ENUGU STATE
Performance assessment has traditionally been a management tool used by private sector businesses to assess their quality, efficiency and effectiveness based on a range of different input and output indicators. Such approaches are being integrated into public services to allow an assessment of the quality of service to be made. This paper critically examines assessment measures currently in place to evaluate local authority food safety services in England and Wales: ‘Best Value’, Audit Commission, the Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre (CDSC) data and the Food Standards Agency monitoring data. It concludes that these are biased towards the use of ‘efficiency’ indicators and that measurement of ‘effectiveness’ and ‘quality’ of services is limited. The use of alternative criteria are examined, including food poisoning data collected by the CDSC and food safety inspection rating scheme data that is collected by all local authorities. Current food poisoning statistics allow the identification of unusually high or low numbers of cases within particular regions of England and Wales. However, there are difficulties in tracing the source of food poisoning cases, as well as issues relating to over/under reporting within different areas of the country. Thus, while such statistics offer an important indicator of general food poisoning activity within the nine general regions of the country, they are of limited use in identifying the effectiveness of specific local authority services in improving standards of food hygiene within food businesses. Background: Hygiene refers to the condition or practices of people to maintain or promote good health by keeping themselves and their surroundings clean. Good hygiene practices in bakeries include proper construction and layout of premise, cleaning and sanitation, pest control, hygiene of personnel, storage and waste management. Important as this strategy is in the food industry, little has been reported on the practice of hygiene among bakers especially in developing countries including Nigeria. The aim of this study was to assess knowledge, attitude and hygiene practices of bakers in Efon Local Government area of Ekite state and compare it with the national policy on food hygiene and safety.
Methodology: This was a cross sectional descriptive study with a sample size of 201; simple random sampling method was used for selection of study subjects; information was collected with a standardized structured, self-administered questionnaire and observation checklist. Data generated was analyzed using Epi info version 3.5.3.
Results: Majority (95.5%) of the bakers had good knowledge, 97.5% had good attitude towards hygiene. However, only 44.3% reported good hygiene practices while 68.0% were observed to practice good hygiene. More of the younger bakers (61.1%) and those who had been in the profession for less than five years (53.0%) reported good hygiene practices.
Conclusion: Although knowledge and attitude was good, the reported practice of hygiene was poor. There is need for the licensing agency to conduct regular supportive supervisory visits to all the bakeries in this LGA, enforce hygiene rules, sanction erring bakers and conduct regular trainings on hygiene to protect the health of the growing consumers of baked foods in Efon LGA, Ekite state.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Food safety is a scientific discipline describing handling, preparation, and storage of food in ways that prevent foodborne illness. This includes a number of routines that should be followed to avoid potentially severe health hazards. Food can transmit disease from person to person as well as serve as a growth medium for bacteria that can cause food poisoning. In developed countries there are intricate standards for food preparation, whereas in lesser developed countries the main issue is simply the availability of adequate safe water, which is usually a critical item. In theory food poisoning is 100% preventable. The five key principles of food hygiene, according to WHO, are:Standard public health interventions to improve hand hygiene in communities with high levels of child mortality encourage community residents to wash their hands with soap at five separate key times, a recommendation that would require mothers living in impoverished households to typically wash hands with soap more than ten times per day. We analyzed data from households that received no intervention in a large prospective project evaluation to assess the relationship between observed handwashing behavior and subsequent diarrhea.One of the deadliest childhood diseases in the world is diarrhoea . Scrimshaw  and others established that it has a synergistic relationship with malnutrition. This vicious cycle results in an adverse effect on growth [3-6]. In Efon, 90% of preschool children suffer from some degree of malnutrition , and, as in many other countries, diarrhoea is one of the most important causes of malnutrition  and child mortality  Poor hygiene and sanitation are major contributors to the diarrhoea .
Many hygiene interventions that attempted to reduce childhood diarrhoea failed to demonstrate any effect, mainly because they were culturally unsuitable and often developed without understanding the problem in the target community [11-13]. In this project, a positive-deviance research approach  was used to develop a community-based intervention. The researchers sought to identify local adaptive behaviours that could be modified by a trial process  and implemented as culturally acceptable and low-cost interventions in five villages in rural Efon. Five similar villages were used as a control site for evaluating the intervention. The purpose of the study was to assess the impact of this intervention on mothers’ knowledge and behaviour, and on the diarrhoeal morbidity and nutrition status of children 918 months old as measured by rapid cross-sectional surveys carried out before and after the intervention. A six-month longitudinal study was conducted, and its analyses are presented in a separate report . The repeat cross-sectional evaluation permitted an investigation as to whether this relatively inexpensive technique measured the impact of interventions adequately, compared with more costly longitudinal methods. Since 2008 this Council, like many others, used these scores to give the business a ‘hygiene star rating’ under a local scheme that was known as “Scores on the Doors”. Under this voluntary arrangement a business was awarded a rating of 0 to 5 stars depending on the results of the hygiene inspection. The Government has recognised the success of such schemes and now a scheme for England, Wales and Northern Ireland is being introduced. The new initiative is called the national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme and is a partnership between local Councils and the Food Standards Agency. The purpose is to provide consumers with an easily understood assessment of the standard of hygiene at food businesses to help them decided where to eat out or shop for food. It also rewards businesses that are hygieneic, clean and safe and encourages less good businesses to improve. Food safety is defined by the FAO/WHO as the assurance that when food is consumed in the usual manner does not cause harm to human health and wellbeing (1). Food safety is of utmost concern in the twenty-first century (2). Food service establishments are sources of food borne illnesses and food handlers contribute to food borne illness outbreaks (3, 4). According to WHO (1989), food handling personnel play important role in ensuring food safety throughout the chain of food production and storage (5).
Mishandling and disregard of hygieneic measures on the part of the food handlers may enable pathogenic bacteria to come into contact with food and in some cases survive and multiply in sufficient numbers to cause illness in the consumer.
Studies by FAO (1995) recorded poor knowledge, practices in food handling in the assessment of microbial contamination of food sold by vendors (6). The hands of food service employees can be vectors in the spread of food borne diseases because of poor personal hygiene or cross-contamination. Studies point out that most outbreaks result from improper food handling practices (7). Lack of basic infrastructure, lack of knowledge of hygiene, absence of potable water, lack of proper storage facility and unsuitable environments for food operations (such as proximity to sewers and garbage dumps) can contribute to poor microbial quality of foods. Inadequate facilities for garbage disposal posed further hazards (8). In addition poor sanitary practices in food storage, handling, and preparation can create an environment in which bacteria and other infectious agents are more easily transmitted (9, 10). Moreover, inadequate time and temperature control and cross contamination are responsible for food poisoning outbreaks (11).
Poor personal hygiene frequently contributes to foodborne illness which indicates that food handlers’ knowledge and handling practices needs to be improved. Studies on the conditions of food and drink establishments have been scanty in Ethiopia (12, 14). A study conducted among food handlers in Bahir Dar town indicated that most of them were infected with enteric bacteria and parasites (15). Good personal hygiene and food handling practices are the basis for preventing the transmission of pathogens from food handlers to the consumers (16). A USA based study suggested that improper food handling practices contribute to about 97% of food borne illnesses in food services establishments and homes (17). Therefore, to reduce foodborne illnesses, it is crucial to gain an understanding of the knowledge and practices of food handlers (18). Information on the food safety knowledge and practices from Bahir Dar is limited. Food safety is a matter that affects anyone who eats food. Whether or not a person consciously thinks about food safety before eating a meal, a host of other people have thought about the safety of that food, from farmers to scientists to company presidents to federal government officials and public health officials. Ensuring the safety of food is a shared responsibility among producers, industry, government, and consumers. Safe food is food that is free not only from toxins, pesticides, and chemical and physical contaminants, but also from microbiological pathogens such as bacteria, parasites, and viruses that can cause illness.
Those working in the field of food safety are most concerned about microbial foodborne illness, a widespread but often unrecognized sickness that affects most people at one time or another. At least four factors are necessary for foodborne illness to occur: (1) a pathogen; (2) a food vehicle; (3) conditions that allow the pathogen to survive, reproduce, or produce a toxin; and (4) a susceptible person who ingests enough of the pathogen or its toxin to cause illness. The symptoms often are similar to those associated with the flu—nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, headache. Most people have experienced foodborne illness, even though they might not recognize it as such, instead blaming it on the stomach flu or a twenty-four-hour bug. Usually symptoms disappear within a few days, but in some cases there can be more long-lasting effects such as joint inflammation or kidney failure. In the most severe cases people die from foodborne illness.
Current estimates of foodborne illness in the United States are 76 million cases, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,194 deaths from foodborne pathogens per year. In cases when the pathogen is identified, bacteria cause 30 percent of foodborne illnesses, parasites 3 percent, and viruses 67 percent. But as far as deaths are concerned, bacterial pathogens are the leading cause of death, with 72 percent of total foodborne illness deaths attributable to bacteria. Fatality rates for two bacteria are particularly high; for Listeria 20 percent of the people may die, and for Vibrio vulnificus 39 percent. Just six pathogens account for over 90 percent of the deaths associated with foodborne illness: Salmonella (31 percent), Listeria (28 percent), Toxoplasma (21 percent), Norwalk-like viruses (7 percent), Campylobacter (5 percent), and Escherichia coli (3 percent). According to FoodNet data from 1996–1997, each person in the United States suffers 1.4 episodes of diarrhea per year. With a U.S. population of 267.7 million persons, that works out to 375 million episodes per year, many of them related to eating unsafe food. Factors that contributed the most to foodborne illness are improper holding temperatures, inadequate cooking, contaminated equipment, food from unsafe sources, and poor personal hygiene.
1.2 PROBLEM OF THE STUDY
Information on the part that poor food-hygiene practices play a role in the development of diarrhea in low socioeconomic urban communities is lacking. This study was therefore aimed at assessing the contribution of food-hygiene practice to the prevalence of diarrhea among Indonesian children. Despite the substantially declining mortality rate from diarrhea in developing countries, diarrhea still accounts for approximately 11% of all mortality in children under 5 years of age . Diarrhea incidence rates among children in this age group in developing countries including Indonesia has declined in the past 20 years, but the burden of disease has remained consistent with respect to age .
Diarrhea incidence remains a tremendous burden on children in low- and middle-income countries  due to multiple determinants  such as child malnutrition , low socioeconomic status and education of mothers [5,6], lack of safe drinking-water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene [7,8], crowding  and low maternal age . These determinants of diarrheal disease are strongly linked to poverty and social inequities . Furthermore, diarrheal incidence is highest in the first two years of life and declines as a child grows older .
Although the determinants of diarrhea among children are well described, information on the part of food-hygiene practices play a role in the development of diarrhea and malnutrition among children in low socioeconomic urban communities is lacking . Many studies conducted in the urban settings of developing countries focused on the risk factors of diarrhea related to environmental conditions and utilization of sanitation facilities [14-16]. A previous study on food-hygiene missed some important practices such as food storage, thorough cooking and adequate holding temperature  as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) . Mothers and children in low socioeconomic urban areas in East Jakarta with limited hygiene and sanitation facilities tend to have poor hygiene practices such as using dirty cooking or eating utensils for their children . While poor hygiene practices, especially in food preparation and feeding practices, may increase the risk of having diarrhea, up to 70% of diarrhea episodes are actually caused by water and food contaminated with pathogens . Migration of the young, able and skilled from rural to urban areas creates seasonal labour bottlenecks and can mean that the non-migrants are those with relatively low capacity levels.
The feminization of rural areas has resulted in productive activities being left to women, in addition to domestic and care responsibilities. Nevertheless, social restrictions limit women’s participation in projects.
Poor rural people do not have the resources, know-how or support to cope with the effects of climate change – more and longer droughts; higher frequency of heavy rainfall and flood events in low-lying coastal areas; and highly variable rainfall, both spatially and temporally.
Poor awareness of hygiene in many rural areas, evidenced by the common practice of open defecation, leads to soil contamination and surface and groundwater pollution.
Access to appropriate technology
Urban approaches and scales have often been used in rural areas, rendering interventions unsuitable to low-density, mobile populations. Poor rural people lack access to appropriate, lost-cost and locally produced technology for water, sanitation and hygiene needs.
The financial, operational and institutional resources required have often proved too great for sustained provision of even the most basic improved water and sanitation systems to the poorest groups in a community. ‘Lesser’ technologies are not considered serious alternatives to improved facilities.
Competition for water resources
Competition for water is likely to intensify amid increasing populations, continuing unsustainable abstraction and pollution of water, and unpredictable water supplies
Access to support for community-managed services
Many community-managed water supply systems have fallen into disrepair for technical, financial and managerial reasons.
RWSH provision has focused on communities and has largely ignored the surrounding supportive infrastructure and institutions (non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the local private sector, etc.), which are commonly weak but potentially important for support, and to promote innovation and stimulate market-oriented solutions to fill the gaps in sector resources and capacities.
There is a lack of reliable, comprehensive data on water resources at end-user, national and international levels, limiting decision-making for integrated management of water resources.
Governance at the national level is a common challenge, owing to poor ownership of development strategies, lack of supportive policies and legislation or low capacity for reform and for assuming new responsibilities.
Effective design of RWSH interventions
Many RWSH interventions fail to appreciate prevailing social, cultural and religious norms and preferences that affect their acceptance and understanding by beneficiaries.
Such factors can also prevent vulnerable groups from participating in projects, or restrict their participation, rendering them voiceless and unlikely to benefit.
Due to a lack of attention to multiple water needs, there is a common disparity in water use between what was planned and what actually happens.
Multiple uses of single-use water systems limit the longevity of facilities, create health hazards, and foster unrest and conflict over reduced or polluted supplies.
The financial sustainability of community water systems remains a major challenge: rural communities, particularly dispersed ones, cannot cover even the cost of operation, let alone capital costs.
A persisting emphasis on hardware as opposed to software means that physical capital cannot be supported and sustained by social and human capital.
There is a disparity in the perception of the benefits of RWSH interventions by poor rural people and by development professionals that severely hampers the creation of demand in order to bring about behavioural change.
Hygiene promotion campaigns have tended to be short term and not sufficiently supported by local government or coordinated with the health and education sectors for them to have any meaningful long-term impact.
The water and sanitation sector has ignored menstrual hygiene to the detriment of female health and productive potential at school and at work.
Intersectoral management is a relatively new, holistic approach that offers a promising framework for better understanding and pro-poor mobilization of potential development synergies. In IFAD’s approach to water, this theme is not central, but is considered a holistic element in strengthening poor rural people’s livelihoods and resilience. IFAD investment approaches to water-related interface management take into account the country-specific structures of the rural political economy. In so doing, they support the development of pro-poor, community-based natural resource management (NRM) institutions, which in turn improve farmer-led agriculture, natural resource technologies, and the sharing of knowledge of these achievements. With regard to RWSH, IFAD is well positioned to contribute to water security for poor rural people through tools and approaches based on a balancing of benefits, costs and risks in meeting rural livelihood needs.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTION
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
H0: This study is not designed to assess the knowledge and practice of food hygiene by food people Efon local government of Enugu state.
H1: This study is designed to assess the knowledge and practice of food hygiene by food people Efon local government of Enugu state.
H0: Lack of basic infrastructure, poor knowledge of hygiene and practices in food service establishments cannot contribute to outbreaks of foodborne illnesses.
H1: Lack of basic infrastructure, poor knowledge of hygiene and practices in food service establishments contribute to outbreaks of foodborne illnesses.
H0: It is impossible to investigate the food safety knowledge and practices of food handlers and to assess the sanitary conditions of food service establishments in Nigeria rural areas.
H1: It is possible to investigate the food safety knowledge and practices of food handlers and to assess the sanitary conditions of food service establishments in Nigeria rural areas.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The Food Hygiene Information Scheme effectively ‘opens the door’ to the kitchen and/or food areas. This will increase consumer confidence and help people make informed choices about where they eat or buy their food. The scheme applies to all food outlets that supply food to consumers in the authorities taking part in the scheme. Each food outlet is asked to display a certificate on the door or window of their premises, saying whether they have passed their hygiene inspection or whether improvement is required. An independent interim evaluation commissioned by the Food Standards Agency has been carried out on the Food Hygiene Information Scheme. The full report which arose from this research can be found by following the link at the bottom of this page.
This study is centered on assessment of food of hygiene practice in Efon local government of Enugu state
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Despite the limited scope of this study certain constraints were encountered during the research of this project. Some of the constraints experienced by the researcher were given below:
iii. INFORMATION CONSTRAINTS: Nigerian researchers have never had it easy when it comes to obtaining necessary information relevant to their area of study from private business organization and even government agencies. Staff of Efon local government of Enugu state finds it difficult to reveal their internal operations. The primary information was collected through face-to-face interview getting the published materials on this topic meant going from one library to other which was not easy.
Although these problems placed limitations on the study, but it did not prevent the researcher from carrying out a detailed and comprehensive research work on the subject matter.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Food safety : Food safety involves the safe handling of food from the time it is grown, packaged, distributed, and prepared to prevent foodborne illnesses. Food safety is the responsibility of those who handle and prepare food commercially for delivery to consumers and of consumers who prepare and eat food in their homes.
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