The study was aimed at investigating practice relating to use of cooking salt in school meal preparation and quality control practices among Food Vendors (FVs) engaged in National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP) in public primary schools located in Oyo and Ogun States, Southwest Nigeria. An exploratory qualitative study was conducted among 40 selected FVs engaged in NHGSFP in the two States. Data were collected using a pretested Key Informant Interview guide. Interviews were subjected to thematic content analysis. Findings reveal that several FVs usually used packaged cooking salt, while some preferred unpackaged cooking salt sold in open plastic containers. The use of salt combined with other forms of food seasonings including bouillon cubes was a common practice among FVs. Practices they often employed to determine quantity of salt included ‘gradual adding of salt to taste’, use of bare-hands to add salt and ‘use of visual measure to gauge the added salt’. Some FVs usually salvaged meals containing excessive salt, especially rice by adding water and sieving it afterwards. An appropriate nutrition education intervention, which encourages use of packaged dietary salt by FVs as well as graduated measuring spoon to quantify the amount of salt added to school meals is suggested.
Key words: Food vendors; school meals; national home-grown school feeding programme; use of cooking salt control, use of condiments; Southwest Nigeria.
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