Omemu Adebukunola Mobolaji and Oloyede Folake Olubunmi
One hundred and eighty one (181) food handlers working in 12 small food businesses in Abeokuta North Local Government were surveyed to assess their personal hygienic practices while handling food. The study also isolated and identified enteric bacteria from the stool samples of the food handlers. A cross sectional study was conducted among the food handlers using a pre-tested structured questionnaire. Of the 181 food handlers, 30.9% normally work with long fingernails, 77.4% wear jewelry and 39.5% chew gum while handling food. Also, 90.1% and 31.5% of the food handlers respectively does not wear gloves or apron when handling food. Few of the food handlers (14.3%) wash their hands at the commencement of each day’s work; 19.3% wash hands after every visit to the toilet and 13.2% usually washed their hands each time they blow their nose or when hair, nose or mouth is touched. The enteric bacteria isolated from the food handlers and their frequency of occurrence are: Eschericia coli (17.7%); Klebsiella oxytoca (7.7%); Salmonella spp (5.5%); Citrobacter freundii (4.4%), Enterobacter cloacae (2.8%); Pseudomonas aeruginosa (8.3%) and Proteus mirabilis (4.4%). There is an immediate need for education and increasing awareness among food handlers regarding safe food handling practices.
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