Comparative Assessment of the Sanitary Conditions of Some Food Service Joints

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Published on International Journal of Food & Nutrition
ISSN: 2311-357X, Volume 1, Issue 2, page 1 – 12
Publication Date: March 1, 2019

Cindy Awinema Apania, Wilhemina Asare & Silas Nkpaijenfene Denteh
Department of Ecotourism and Environmental Management
Faculty of Natural Resources and Environment, University for Development Studies

Journal Full Text PDF: Comparative Assessment of the Sanitary Conditions of Some Food Service Joints (A Case Study in the Tamale Metropolis).

Food vending in the country is very vital as it provides nutritional needs of its population and at the same time serves as a source of revenue for the operators of these service joints. Tamale in the northern region is not left out as so many women are into the business of food vending which is their source of livelihood; nevertheless, food vending poses much risk to consumers of these foods due to bad sanitary practices in some food service joints. This study seeks to make a comparative assessment of the sanitary conditions of some food service joints in Tamale metropolis which sought to; identify waste disposal practices, assessment of food hygiene practices and assessment of the level of personal hygiene. The different types of food service joints surveyed in the study include; Restaurants, chop bars and roadside food joints. Questionnaires and face to face interview were used in acquiring information from respondents. A total of 120 respondents were interviewed, out of which 90 were customers, 21 being staff of the food service joints, 9 managers of the food service joints. Information from some key informants at the environmental regulatory bodies was equally taken. The results revealed differences in general hygiene practices between the types of food service joints. Roadside foods are mostly purchased by customers who have not attained formal education and those customers with primary, JHS and secondary education were fairly represented across the three types of food service joints. Customers with tertiary education patronise food from both restaurants and chop bars whilst customers who have schooled above tertiary (post graduates) mainly patronise food from restaurants. Sanitary regulations by environmental regulatory bodies is found to be very poor at the Roadside food joints which is evident by the fact that all these joints are not licenced but is fairly good at the Restaurants and Chop bars understudy.

Keywords: Food venders, Restaurants, Chop bars, Food hygiene, Food service joints and Sanitary regulation.

1. Background
In recent time, many developing countries including Ghana’s food vendors have become an integral part of the food supply chain particularly the onset of urbanization (Akintaro, 2012). Statistics by the Food and Agriculture Organization points out that, 2.5 billion people eat vended food every day (FAO, 2011). Food is anything solid or liquid which when eaten and digested promotes growth, repairs worn-out tissues, provides heat and energy, fights against diseases and infections and regulates the body processes (Adigbo and Maddah, 2011). Some foods sold at these vending sites include; fufu, plain rice, jollof rice, banku, wakye among many others to meet the various nutritional needs and demand of the customers. The food can either be prepared at home and carried to the vending site or prepared and sold on site depending on the individuals (Rane, 2011). Due to the increasing number of the population and its demand, there has been the establishment of food service joints to cater for this growing population which involve majority of women establishing these vending sites in the country (Lues et al, 2006). For women in developing countries, food vending serves as a major source of livelihood and provides them with the opportunity to develop business skills with low capital investment (Lues et al, 2006). The activities of food vendors can increase the chances of food contamination with pathogenic microorganisms and mycotoxins (Danikuu et al., 2015). This happens right from the preparation of the food, how it is being handled and also with utensils used for the preparation. Chapman et al., (2010) wrote that about 70% of disease outbreaks are linked to vended foods and It was estimated that, food-borne illnesses account for about 2.2 million deaths annually, out of which about 86% are children. This is due to the fact that, children are large patrons of vended foods either in schools, at church or at the playing ground (Afele, 2006). Other factors which could introduce these microbial contaminants include raw materials, time and temperature abuse of cooked foods among other common factors which could expose the food to bacteria and other disease causing vectors leading to an increase in the level of food borne illnesses and to some extent death as a result of food poisoning (Rane, 2011). Sanitation as defined by UN-WATER AID (2008), are measures or ways necessary for improving and protecting the health and wellbeing of the people. Sanitation in this area of study is very vital and important because a variety of harmful or deadly bacteria would otherwise infect people and potentially start a disease.
The food sector in Ghana is confronted with challenges, there is inadequate supervision and improper monitoring by food safety officers and also the enforcement of food hygiene regulation is weak (Onyeneho and Hedberg, 2013). Most of these foods are prepared at very dirty surroundings with waste water and garbage disposed nearby, providing nutrient and breeding ground for rodents and vermin (Barro et al., 2006). In most cases running water is not available at vending sites, so therefore washing of hands and crockery are done in bowls or buckets and sometimes without soap (Abdalla et al., 2008), this could also lead to the spread of some contagious diseases. In most cases, food vendors are always at the end of accusing fingers for the spread of food-borne diseases, particularly cholera outbreaks, and are sometimes banned momentarily as a desperate measure to control the outbreak (Ansah et al., 2014). Food vendors have come to help a lot of people to meet their nutritional needs (Haleegoah et al., 2015). However, it is important and necessary for food vendors to stick to high standards of hygiene and maintain clean vending environments hence minimizing the effects of food borne illnesses, this has prompted considerable research to assess hygiene and food handling practices among food vendors across the globe in order to contribute to efforts aimed at improving food handling practices (Barro et al., 2006). Therefore, the study sought to assess the sanitary conditions of food service joints in the tamale metropolitan Assembly. Specifically To; identify waste disposal practices at the various food service joints; evaluate food hygiene practices between food service joints; assess the level of personal hygiene at food service joints and assess the Level of enforcement of sanitary regulations.

2. Methodology
2.1 Study Area
Tamale officially called the Tamale Metropolitan Area is the capital town of the Northern Region and the fourth largest city in Ghana and has a total population of 360,579 (GSS, 2010) Tamale has three sub-metropolitan areas and is located in the heart of the Northern Region, the only district with metropolitan status among 26 districts in the region. It lies between latitude 9.16° and 9.34° N and longitudes 00.36° and 00.57W. It is located in the central part of the region and has a tropical wet and dry climate under the Koppen’s climate classification. The metropolis is purposefully structured into three (3) constituencies namely; Tamale north, Tamale south and Tamale central (GSS, 2014). Tamale is developing in all direction and has become the hub for immigrants from within and outside the Northern Region. As one of the fastest growing cities in the country, Tamale is challenged with poor environmental sanitation especially in the area of solid and liquid wastes management, which happens to be the single greatest problem in the metropolis (Paul et al, 2012). The study population includes the management, staff and customers within restaurants, chop bars and roadside food joints in the metropolis