Assessment of personal hygiene and food safety practices of food handlers among selected senior high schools in the Kumasi Metropolis, Ghana.

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Background: Cautious or accidental contamination of food in the process of large scale food preparation compromises the health of consumers and have enormous effects on a country. In ensuring food safety, food handlers therefore play crucial role. Methods: Data were collected from 15 Senior High Schools in the Kumasi Metropolis involving 226 food handlers. Of the 226 respondents, 141 dining staff and 85 food vendors were recruited using simple random and convenience sampling techniques respectively. Methods of data analyses included both descriptive statistics and inferential analytical tools such as frequency, percentage, mean, standard deviation and chi-square test. Results: Results from the study showed a satisfactory number (≥80%) of food handlers having knowledge on most of personal hygiene and food safety principles. More than 90% of food handlers as well regularly engage in healthy personal hygiene and food safety practices. These healthy practices include washing of hands before and after cooking, use of an apron when cooking and protection of cooked food from insects. Also, 96.9% and 94.2% of food handlers confirmed inspection of food safety practices by Sanitary Inspectors and Food and Drugs boards respectively, however, the inspection is done occasionally. In addition, there was statistically significant association between the educational levels and reading of inscription on packed foods to know how to use or store them (0.000), eggs washed before cooking or frying (0.029), use of an apron when preparing food (0.028) as well as dishes washed with detergent and soap (0.039). Conclusions: In conclusion, institutional bodies safeguarding food safety standards need to empower food handlers through update courses, domestic training, uninterrupted food safety education, workshops, and seminars on food safety
A thesis submitted to the Department of Health Promotion, Education and Disability Studies, School of Public Health, College of Health Sciences, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of degree of Master of Public Health in Health Promotion and Education.
Food handler, personal hygiene, food safety, foodborne diseases