Sunday, 22 April 2018

Poor food handling and its role in disease transmission

Food can be contaminated at any point during harvesting, processing, storage, distribution, transportation, preparation and handling. These contaminated foods can cause food poisoning and food borne illness. The contamination of food could be due to poor food handling and sanitation practices such as exposing foods to rodents and other pest, flies breeding on open foods, coughing, sneezing, discussing during food preparation, use of dirty towels to dry hands, scratching of hair in food premises etc. These could result in disease such as diarrhea, cholera, typhoid, salmonellosis in order to prevent disease caused as a result of poor food handling the following measures are to be adhered to: health education of food handlers, washing of hands before and after the use of sanitary convenience, provision of adequate wholesome water supply, regular brushing of teeth and washing of mouth of food handlers. It is recommended that there should be proper health education of food handlers on food hygiene.

Policy document from Nigeria national environmental health regulation, 2007 on food sanitation

i.               Every food item, including cooked food shall be produced, handled, prepared and served in a state that shall maintain its wholesomeness adhering to the highest hygiene standard.
ii.               Food, cooked or uncooked including, bread, cake etc. shall not be exposed or sold to the public without the facility from where such food is produced being approved by the environmental health authority having jurisdiction in that area:
a)             Any person wishing to operate a food outlet shall apply and obtain a permit from environmental health authority in which he intends to operate.
b)             Such permit must be renewable annually.

Regulatory agencies concerned with food hygiene in Nigeria

The implementation of food safety is ensured by the three tiers of government: federal, state and local government. The federal ministry of health is responsible for formulating the national policy of food hygiene and safety(under the Nigeria national health policy) and control of food borne diseases as well other national and international matters relating to food.

Prevention and control of food borne illness

The following are measures that can be taken to maintain high standard of food hygiene. Therefore if these measures are adhered to strictly it will help in preventing and controlling food borne illness.
                     i.         Effective personal hygiene on the part of food handlers.
                   ii.         Provision of adequate and safe waters for the preparation of food.
                  iii.         Proper storage of food.

Effect of ineffective food security on human beings

­  Food poisoning: It is most common kind of ill effect on the health of people and it is caused due to lack of food safety. It causes nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhoea and headache. Flu is a major effort of food poisoning. It is a virus that causes, fever and extreme tiredness in human body. It is easily spread through the air by coughing or sneezing.

Concept of hygiene and food hygiene

Hygiene is defined by Nwana (2010) as the practices of keeping oneself and living area clean in order to prevent illness and disease. This involves ensuring good and clean surrounding for the purpose of preventing outbreak of diseases.

Kubik, Lytle, Hannan, Perry and Story (2009) on the other hand stated that food poisoning precautions can be divided into three (3) categories such as personal hygiene, environmental hygiene and hygienic handling of food.

Complications of food borne illness

Food borne illness may lead to dehydration, Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) and other complications. Acute food borne illness may also lead to chronic health problems. (National Health Institute, 2010).