This study assessed various factors associated with poor compliance of street food vendors to safety measures in the Techiman Municipality with emphasis on the World Health Organization’s five keys to safer food policy. Two sets of questionnaires were designed to collect data from 150 respondents (140 food vendors and 10 officials of the Environmental Health and Sanitation Agency) in the Techiman Municipality. Data was collected based on the level of awareness, food hygiene/handling practices and effectiveness of regulatory bodies in the Techiman municipality. Overall, awareness of food hygiene was high (91.4%) and depended on vendor’s educational level (Chi-square = 7.810, P<0.05). The ability to maintain a clean food preparation area was generally poor. Most food vending sites (68%) were dirty and most respondents disposed of their waste in polythene bags (56.4%). Only a few food vendors washed their hands after scratching themselves (32%) or handling money (22%). Separation between raw materials from cooked food was also poor. Overall, 25% of the vendors always stored raw and cooked food separately, 29% stored them separately sometimes, while 47% did not. Food was however kept at safe at temperature 82%. The hygiene and safety of raw materials used in cooking was in doubt. Most food vendors (69%) considered price important and purchased cheap raw materials. Finally, the effectiveness of regulatory bodies was generally fair (50%). This might be a result of some challenges faced by regulatory bodies in terms of logistics and resources (90%) and also lack of cooperation from food vendors (10%). The study concluded that there is high awareness of food safety among food vendors in the Techiman municipality. Yet food hygiene and handling practices are poor. This might be due to challenges faced by food vendors in terms of finances (65.7%) and pressure from consumers (34.3%). There is also poor regulation by regulatory bodies which might also be due to a lack of logistics and resources (90%). Current regulations in the municipality regarding general food hygiene practices should be reviewed and strengthened to focus on a risk based approach.
Key words: Compliance, food safety, food vendors, food hygiene.
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