An investigation into the hygiene practices and food safety of street vendors outside pension pay-out points in urban poor communities in the City of Cape Town

Rohith, Shamiska (2021-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2021.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : Street vended food is an affordable form of sustenance in many developing countries like South Africa. They provide urban low-income communities with an essential food supply chain. Social grants are used to purchase street foods sold by vendors who are strategically located at pension pay-out points. Food products sold by street vendors can be seen as a public health issue affecting the health and well-being of the low-income urban communities. Street Food Vendors (SFVs) may operate without due regard for the basic requirements critical to the hygienic preparation and storage of foods. A few studies on street vended foods have been performed in Gauteng and the Free State, however, there is a paucity of data within the Western Cape. A cross-sectional study was performed to obtain demographic information on SFVs present at pension points within selected lower-income urban areas in the city of Cape Town and to concurrently assess their knowledge on food safety. Food, water and swab samples of surfaces were collected and tested for their microbiological safety expressed as the Total Microbial Activity (TMA) and Colony Forming Units (CFU). A questionaire was also sent to the Environmental Health Practitoners (EHPs) to assess their needs and challenges. A reported 68% of the SFVs in the study were female and 40% of the street vendors lived in informal dwellings. A reported 52% of the SFVs prepared their foods at the stall, 32% at home and the stall; but only 20% had access to ablution facilities at the stall. The street vendors who cooked foods over a wood fire comprised 64%, and 12% reported having resold leftovers. With regards to washing up, 60% were unsure about the frequency of changing the washing-up water and 12% did not wash their utensils. It is of concern that 32% of the SFVs did not wear any protective clothing. The Total Microbial Activity (TMA) activity for most of the food and water samples showed some very high counts (>100000), which is an indication of food spoilage and potential bacterial growth. The samples of hot food showed no growth, but the water samples showed the presence of a variety of gram-positive and gram-negative organisms. The swab samples were only tested for E. coli of which, 3 vendors tested positive (<103) for E. coli on their hands. Thirtyone percent of the swabs from various surfaces at the food stalls indicated that the hygiene levels posed a risk. Food safety knowledge of SFVs was found to be deficient in certain areas as 60% did not understand the importance of using safe products and 36% did not know the safe storage temperatures of cooked foods. It is compulsory to have certification to operate as a street vendor, but 80% of SFVs did not. SFVs (52%) did acknowledge that there were inspections by EHPs. In conclusion, the samples of hot foods were safe to consume but the hygiene of the street vendors is questionable, as indicated by the quality of the water and swab samples. SFVs require further food safety and hygiene training, proper supervision as well as access to basic facilities.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : is dikwels die mees bekostigbare vorm van voedsel in baie ontwikkelende lande soos Suid-Afrika. Dit bied stedelike lae-inkomstegemeenskappe 'n noodsaaklike voedselvoorsieningsketting. Maatskaplike toelaes is die mees betroubare vorm van inkomste wat gebruik word om straatvoedsel te koop vanaf verkopers wat strategies by pensioenuitbetalingspunte geleë is. Voedselprodukte wat deur straatverkopers verkoop word, kan gesien word as 'n openbare gesondheidskwessie wat die gesondheid en welstand van die lae-inkomste stedelike gemeenskappe beïnvloed. Straatvoedselverskaffers voldoen nie aan die basiese vereistes wat noodsaaklik is vir die higiëniese voorbereiding en berging van voedsel nie. Enkele studies oor straatvoedsel is in Gauteng en die Vrystaat uitgevoer, maar daar is 'n gebrek aan data vir die Wes-Kaap. 'n Deursnitstudie is uitgevoer om demografiese inligting te verkry oor straatvoedselverskaffers wat teenwoordig was by pensioenpunte binne die laer inkomste stedelike gebiede in die stad Kaapstad en on hulle kennis oor voedselveiligheid te evalueer. Voedsel-, watermonsters en deppers van oppervlaktes was versamel en getoets vir hul mikrobiologiese veiligheid, uitgedruk as die Totale Mikrobiese Aktiwiteit (TMA) en Colony Forming Units (CFU). 'N Vraelys is ook aan die Environmental Health Practitoners (EHP's) gestuur om hul behoeftes en uitdagings te beoordeel. Daar is bevind dat 68% van die straatvoedselverskaffers vroulik was en dat 40% van die straatverkopers in informele wonings gewoon het. 'n Gerapporteerde 52% van die straatvoedselverkopers het hul kos by die stalletjie voorberei, 32% by die huis en by die stalletjie; maar slegs 20% het toegang tot ablusiegeriewe by die stalletjie gehad. Die straatverkopers wat gekookte kos oor 'n houtvuur berei het, het 64% beloop en ongeveer 12% het oorskietkos verkoop. Met betrekking tot opwas was 60% onseker oor die frekwensie van die verandering van die water en 12% het nie hul gereedskap gewas nie. Dit was kommerwekkend dat 32% van die straatvoedselverskaffers het geen beskermende klere gedra het nie. Die totale mikrobiese aktiwiteit (TMA) vir die meeste voedsel- en watermonsters het 'n paar baie hoë tellings (> 100000) getoon, wat 'n aanduiding is van voedselbederf en potensiële bakteriële groei. Die voedselmonsters wat warm gemonster was, het geen groei getoon nie, maar die watermonsters het die teenwoordigheid van 'n verskeidenheid gram-positiewe en gramnegatief organismes. Die deppermonsters is slegs getoets vir E. coli waarvan 3 verskaffers positief vir E. coli op hul hande getoets het. Een-en-dertig persent van die deppers van verskillende oppervlaktes by die kosstalletjies het aangedui dat die higiënevlakke 'n risiko inhou. Kennis oor voedselveiligheid van SFV's is in sekere gebiede gebrekkig aangesien 60% nie die belangrikheid van die gebruik van veilige produkte verstaan nie en 36% nie die veilige opbergingstemperatuur van gekookte voedsel ken nie. Dit is verpligtend om 'n sertifisering te hê om as straatverkoper te funksioneer, maar 80% van die SFV's het dit nie gedoen nie. SFV's (52%) het wel erken dat daar inspeksies deur Environmental Health Practitoner (EHP's) was. Ten slotte was die monsters van warm kos veilig om te verbruik, maar die higiëne van die straatverkopers is te betwyfel, soos aangedui deur die kwaliteit van die monsters van water en watte. SFV's benodig verdere opleiding in voedselveiligheid en higiëne, behoorlike toesig sowel as toegang tot basiese fasiliteite.

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