Knowledge and practices of Hygiene of Fresh-Cut Fruit Vendors - A case study of New Juaben Municipality in the Eastern Region of Ghana
In recent times, many people prefer to purchase fruits which have undergone minimal processing probably due to lack of time and convenience. Fresh-cut fruits are ready-to-eat food, but can be a source of contamination and hence transmission of food-borne diseases such as typhoid and cholera. The contamination of fresh-cut fruits can be caused by the handlers, therefore, this study was carried out to assess the hygienic knowledge and practices of fresh-cut fruit handlers in the New Juaben Municipality in the Eastern Region of Ghana. The handlers studied include those who deal with fruits such as pawpaw, watermelon, and pineapple. The two main instruments used for gathering the data were questionnaires and personal observation. The responses of the handlers were analyzed using SPSS. Most of the respondents work in hygienic premises, have good knowledge of food hygiene, and practice good hygiene especially during packaging of processed fruits. The observation indicated that even though most respondents use gloves and aprons, they do not cover the hair, mouth, and nose, and this could predispose the fruits to contamination. Although, majority of the respondents have waste bins, most (85.4%) of them were hand-operated with only a few (7.3%) having tight cover, and this could invite flies to the premises. Fresh-cut fruit handlers in the New Juaben Municipality should be given periodic education on food hygiene.
Keywords: ready-to-eat food, premises, respondents, contamination, food hygiene, minimal processing