Published on International Journal of Health, Nursing, & Medicine
Publication Date: March 22, 2019
ADDAI Terseer Iyene
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Veterinary Public Health and Preventive Medicine Ahmadu Bello University
Zaria, Kaduna State, Nigeria
Rat meat is an important source of animal protein, income generator and it is consumed in different parts of the world. This study was carried out to determine the sociodemographic characteristics and practices of retailers and consumers of smoked rat meat sold in Zaria, Nigeria to provide evidence based information to relevant stake holders on the safety of this protein source for human consumption. Four districts within the study area were selected: Samaru, Basawa, Jushi, and Sabon Gari by purposive sampling. Ninety-six structured questionnaires were administered to retailers and consumers of smoked rat meat in the selected sampling areas based on convenience. The results showed that majority of the retailers were males between 19-36 and 37-54 years. Majority of the consumers were also males and the highest age range was 19-36 years. Ninety-two percent of the retailers were without meat safety training/certificate and 75% and had no formal education. Seventy-six percent of the consumers had tertiary education and 90% reported that they were aware of meat safety practices. The study also showed that 51% percent of the consumers and 67% of the retailers use bare hands as a means of selection in bargaining. Air drying is the major means of preservation, as documented by 42% of the retailers and 52% of the consumers. The smoked rat meat is consumed either in soup or with spices with no further reheating. This study has shown that several practices involved in the processing, handling and preservation of smoked rat meat could predispose it to contamination and constitute a hazard to consumers. It is therefore expedient that further in depth research is carried out on the microbial quality of smoked rat meat sold in Zaria, Nigeria and relevant stake holders sensitize the consumers and retailers on proper hygiene practices to ensure that smoked rat meat is not a vehicle for the transmission of diseases.
Keywords: Smoked, rat meat, hygiene, practices, consumers & retailers.
Meat is animal tissue used as food (Hammer, 1987). Rat meat has been identified as a good source of animal protein, source of income and it is widely traded and consumed in different parts of the world, including Nigeria (Ajayi and Tewe, 1978; Fiedler, 1990; Oyarekua and Ketiku, 2010; Tee et al., 2012; Doyle, 2014). Meat has a diverse nutrient composition which makes it an ideal environment for food-borne pathogens and meat spoilage microorganisms, hence the need to employ preservation technologies to maintain its safety (Aymerich et al., 2008). Among preservation technologies used in maintaining safety of meat, smoking of meat is still widely practiced. It lowers water activity thereby reducing bacteria growth (Rørvik, 2000; Swastawati et al., 2000). Studies have reported contamination of smoked meat (Kayode and Kolawole, 2008; Gideon and Joseph, 2018; Konne et al., 2018), and this may be hazardous to consumers as smoked meat are ready-to-eat foods which means they can be consumed immediately after purchase without further reheating (Monteiro, 2010; Anonymous, 2013; Stahl et al., 2015). To the best of my knowledge, there has not been any report on the sociodemographic characteristics and practices of retailers and consumers of smoked rat meat sold in Zaria despite the fact that this important protein source is widely consumed and traded in different parts of the world. This study was therefore aimed at bridging this knowledge gap.
2. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
2.1 Study area
The study was carried out in Zaria, Nigeria. Zaria is located in the center of Northern Nigeria and characterized by humid, wet and dry seasons with fluctuation in temperature (Mortimore, 1970; Yakubu, 2009). Zaria metropolis is divided administratively into Zaria and Sabon Gari Local Government Areas (L.G.A), comprising of six (6) and five (5) district areas respectively. Zaria LGA comprises Zaria city, Dutse Abba, Tudun wada, Gyelesu, Tukur Tukur and Jushi; while Sabon Gari comprises Muciya, Bassawa, Samaru, Muciya, Bomo and Hanwa (Ministry of Economic Development, 1996).
2.2 Sampling design
A cross sectional study was carried out. Four districts areas: Samaru, Bassawa, Jushi and Sabon Gari, were purposively selected for the study. Ninety-six structured questionnaires were administered to retailers and consumers of smoked rat meat in the study areas based on convenience. Three markets/sales point per district area was identified and documented as retailers and any customer who came to patronize the smoked rat meat was classified as a consumer. Consumers were asked orally if they have already participated in the research to avoid repetition. The study covered a period of 28 days.
3.1 Demography of retailers and consumers of smoked rat meat sold in Zaria Nigeria.
Table 1, gives the demography of retailers and consumers of smoked rat meat sold in Zaria. Majority of the consumers were males (64%). The highest age range was 19-36 years, which was recorded by 40% of the consumers. Seventy-six percent of the consumers had tertiary education. Ninety percent of the consumers claimed to be aware of meat safety. Majority of the retailers were males (83%). The highest age range recorded by the retailers was 19-36 years (58%). Seventy-five percent of the retailers had no formal education. Ninety-two percent of the retailers were without meat safety training/certificate.
3.2. Practices of consumers of smoked rat meat sold in Zaria
Eighty-eight percent of the consumers buy the smoked rat meat from markets, while 12% source the rats within households. Fifty-one percent use bare hands in collecting the smoked rat meat from the sellers while 49% collect the smoked rat meat from the sellers in polythene bags. Fifty-six percent consume the smoked rat meat after cooking in soup while 44% spice with salt and pepper then consume, without reheating. Air drying is the major mode of preservation of smoked rat meat as reported by 52% of the consumers while 48% employ smoking/ heating in preserving smoked rat meat not consumed immediately after purchase. Seventy-three percent of the consumers attested to not been satisfied with the surrounding where the smoked rat meat is placed by the sellers (Table 2).
3.3. Practices of retailers of smoked rat meat sold in Zaria, Nigeria.
All the retailers (100%) get the rats from outdoor bushy areas. The smoked rat meat that aren’t sold off immediately are preserved by air drying by 42% of the retailers while 58% smoke/reheat. Sixty-seven percent of the retailers present the roasted rat meat to the buyers using bare hands while 33% use polythene bags. Highest sales are recorded from January-April as documented by 100% of the retailers. Sixty-seven percent of the retailers also make sales to other areas outside the study area with demand. All retailers (100%) record 100% regularity in patronage (Table 3).