Food safety knowledge and microbiological hygiene of households in selected areas of Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa

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Mveli Cyril Mkhungo
Ajibola Bamikole Oyedeji *
Oluwatosin Ademola Ijabadeniyi
(*) Corresponding Author:
Ajibola Bamikole Oyedeji | 21648946@dut4life.ac.za

Abstract

This study was conducted to determine the level of food safety knowledge and practices during food handling and preparation at household level in selected areas in KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa. Fifty households were selected to participate based on their monthly income, age and educational level. Samples of raw foods were randomly collected from the participating households for microbial analyses. Swabs from food contact surfaces were also collected and analyzed for the presence of pathogens. Difference in demographic data regarding food safety knowledge was tested using chi-square and microbial counts were statistically analyzed (P<0.05). Knowledge of proper cold storage temperature was found to be inadequate as over 70% of respondents had no idea of their cold storage temperatures. High risk of cross contamination was observed due to improper thawing, packaging of meat with other ready to eat foods and poor food contact material handling. Microbial analyses of raw food samples showed the presence of aerobic spore formers (1.08-1.89 log cfu/mL), anaerobic spore formers (0.29- 1.83 log cfu/mL) and Staphylococcus aureus (3.31-3.96 log cfu/mL). Contact surfaces were also positive for Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella spp and Escherichia coli. Food safety knowledge and proper food handling practices were found to be inadequate in the areas studied and urgent intervention is required to prevent fatal incidences of food borne illnesses.

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