Food Hygiene and Safety Training Intervention of Food Handlers in a Metropolis in South-Eastern Nigeria
Background: Training of food handlers to improve their food hygiene and safety knowledge, attitude and practice is of paramount importance in the prevention and control of food borne diseases. The World Health Organization has stressed on the same for reducing chances of food contamination. The study was conducted with aim of assessing the effectiveness of training on knowledge, attitude and practice of food hygiene and safety among food handlers in a metropolis in South-eastern Nigeria.
Methodology: This study was quasi-experimental in design and was conducted in 3 phases-baseline survey, intervention (training/retraining) and post-intervention survey. The study participants were selected by simple random sampling technique using a table of random numbers. Data were collected with pre-tested semi-structured questionnaire administered to managers, cooks and servers. Statistical analyses (proportions, means with standard deviations, chi-square test) were carried out using SPSS version 20.
Results: At baseline, respondents’ overall knowledge, attitude and practice of food hygiene and safety were similar in the study and control groups (p = 0.54, 0.53, 0.06 respectively). There were no statistically significant differences in the overall knowledge, attitude and practice of food sanitation in the control group between the beginning and end of study (p = 0.40, 0.36, 0.87 respectively). In the study group, there were significant increases in the knowledge, attitude and practice of food hygiene after intervention (p < 0.01, < 0.01, < 0.01 respectively). Respondents’ overall knowledge, attitude and practice of food hygiene and safety differed significantly between the groups post-intervention (p < 0.01, < 0.01, < 0.01 respectively).
Conclusion: The study has demonstrated the effectiveness of training in improving food handlers’ knowledge, attitude and practice of food hygiene and safety. It is therefore recommended that management of restaurants, regulatory agencies and government should provide regular training to food handlers.