African Journal of
Food Science

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Food Sci.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0794
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJFS
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 924

Full Length Research Paper

Food safety practices of cooked food hawkers in Tharaka Nithi County, Kenya

Cornellius Musembi Muendo
  • Cornellius Musembi Muendo
  • Department of Environmental Health and Disease Control, School of Public Health, College of Health Sciences, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Google Scholar
Gideon Kikuvi
  • Gideon Kikuvi
  • Department of Environmental Health and Disease Control, School of Public Health, College of Health Sciences, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Google Scholar
Susan Mambo
  • Susan Mambo
  • Department of Environmental Health and Disease Control, School of Public Health, College of Health Sciences, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Google Scholar


  •  Received: 21 January 2022
  •  Accepted: 07 March 2022
  •  Published: 30 April 2022

Abstract

Hawking of cooked foods is an important economic activity, especially for low-income earners. However, the trade raises public health concerns particularly due to the likely breaches of food safety standards. Thus, this study investigated the food safety practices of hawkers of cooked foods in Tharaka Nithi County. A cross-sectional study design was used to collect data from 151 respondents using a questionnaire. The other data collection tools included a key informant interview guide and an observation checklist. The mean age of hawkers was 40.25 ± 9.226 years, with 71.5% of them aged between 35 and 59 years. The majority of hawkers were females (77.5%), married (51.7%), had attained secondary level education (55.6%), and earned a daily profit of between Ksh. 501 and 1,000. The hawkers were largely (91.1%) not trained on food safety, did not have a food hygiene license (92.7%), did not wear outer garments (58.9%), and did not have a medical certificate (89.5%). Almost half (54.2%) of the hawkers prepared their foods at home and transported them to hawking sites using public means (52.6%). The majority (86.8%) of hawking sites were makeshift stations and 40.4% of them had reportedly been infested with rodents. Generally, the hawkers did not comply with most of the food safety standards. County government of Tharaka Nithi should therefore design and implement interventions to promote the safety of cooked foods hawked in the county.

 

Key words: Handling practices, hawkers, cooked, food safety, street foods, street vendors.