Assessment of Food Safety Knowledge and Hygienic Practices among Street Food Vendors in Alexandria
The street food industry plays an important role in meeting the food demands of the urban dwellers in developing countries. Foods are often prepared under unsanitary conditions and stored for long periods in unsuitable conditions before selling. Objective: The aim of this study was to assess food safety knowledge and hygienic practices among street food vendors in Alexandria. Setting: The study was carried out in Alexandria City, which composed of eight zones; out of them three zones were randomly selected (El-Montaza, East and El-Gomrok Zones). Subjects: The total sample was 100 street food vendors. Tools: Tool I: Street vendor’s personal, vending data and food vending knowledge structured interview schedule and Tool II: Vending environment and hygienic practices of street vendors by using observation checklist. Results: The majority (91.0%) of street vendors were males and their mean age was 30.48±8.5 years. Less than half (41.0%) of them were mobile street vendors, working for more than 5 years. Food poisoning and dysentery were the most prevalent type of food borne diseases identified by street vendors and86.0% of them acquired their knowledge about food vending by experience. Conclusion: The present study concluded that the majority of food vendors acquired the knowledge of food preparation by self-teaching and some of their knowledge could not be translated to practice due to absence of basic facilities. Recommendations: The study recommended that food vendors should be adequately educated on the relation between food and disease transmission as well as on principles of personal hygiene and safety food practices. Also, the routine medical examination of food handlers must be carried out by health office for regulating safe street food handling, preparation and vending.