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Topic Description



Background to the study

Food is a vital substance which helps in the nutritional support and development of human system and so the issue of food is a need for every human being. It is usually of plant and animal origin and contains nutrient needed by the body such as carbohydrate, fats, protein, vitamins or minerals depending on the type of food (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2012). Food is necessary for human survival however; it could be a source of ill health to human if it is contaminated by microbes for example, E. coli, Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter and S. aureus.


Food hygiene according to Food and Agriculture Organization (2012) is all conditions and measures necessary to ensure the safety and suitability of food at all stages of the food chain. Gordon-Davis (2011) interprets hygiene as the preservation of health and it involves all measures that ensure the safety and quality of food during its handling. These measures includes correct storage of both raw and cooked foods, as well as correct preparation and cooking methods. Food hygiene according to Iragunima (2010) represents those factors which influence the health and wellbeing of an individual. The factors are observance of simple rules about healthy behaviours including cleanliness, exercise, diet, sleep and others. So, ensuring food hygiene is the responsibility of everyone who prepares, serves, processes, or even eats food. Parents should always consider these questions before choosing schools for their children; (1) What type of meal do they eat at school? (2) How hygienic is the person that prepares and sells the food? (3) How hygienic is the environment they buy the food from?

School meal is a meal usually given to student during break time. School meal is a good way to channel vital nourishment to poor children. In 1946, America president Truman officially signed the National school lunch program, although funds had previously been appropriated for over a decade without specific legislative authority (Schirm and Kirkendall, 2010).  India also has a long tradition of school feeding program (since the 1920s) largely by the state governments with some external assistance (Akanbi and Alayande, 2011). In Nigeria, the Federal Government launched the Home-Grown School Feeding and Health program under the coordination of the Federal Ministry of Education in September, 2005. The program aims to provide a nutritionally-adequate meal during the school day (UNICEF, 2006). However, school meal program in Nigeria (mostly in day schools) is either nonexistent or where available inadequate so that pupils/ students resort to independent food vendors.

The Food and Agriculture Organization as far back as 1989 defined street foods as ready-to-eat foods and beverages prepared or sold by vendors and hawkers especially in streets and similar public places (FAO, 1989). Currently it is defined as wide range of ready-to-eat food sold and sometimes prepared in public places, notably streets (Codex, 2013).  According to Janie and Marie (2010), defined a street food vendor as a person who offers goods for sale to the public without having a permanent built up structure but with a temporary /static structure or mobile stall /head load/wheel-barrow/truck. Street vendors may be stationary by occupying space on the pavements or other public/private areas, or may be mobile in the sense that they move from place to place carrying their wares on push carts, wheel barrow or in cycle or baskets or on their heads, or may sell their wares in moving trains, etc in the environment. According to Escalante de Cruz (2005) there are three main categories of street food vendors, namely ‘mobile’ vendors, ‘semi-mobile’ vendors, who may be stationary or move from one site to another and ‘stationary’ vendors who sell their food at the same site each day.

According to FAO (2012), a good location and organization of workplace are essential to ensure hygienic street food preparation and vending premises. Street food operators should keep the following principles in mind: (1) the point of sale should not obstruct traffic or pedestrians and should not expose customers to road traffic or other hazards; (2) the point of sale should be designed and installed for easy cleaning and maintenance; (3) the place used for the preparation and sale of food should not also serve as accommodation or for storage of non-food products; (4) the workplace should be orderly, with the raw materials and ingredients carefully placed on a clean kitchen table or counter; (5) the food should be prepared in a clean and well kept place, sheltered from dust, sun, rain and wind, and far from all sources of contamination, such as solid waste (vegetable and fruit peel, leftover food, etc.) and liquid waste (waste water, fish and meat fluids); (6) the presence of domestic animals and unnecessary and potentially dangerous objects should be avoided; (7) displayed food should be covered and protected from contamination; (8)disorder should be avoided in the work area; (9) the workplace should be organized in such a way that waste disposal is far from the cooking area; (10) cleaning equipment (brooms, buckets, mops, etc.) that is often dirtied should be kept away from the work area; (11) raw materials bought at the market should be unwrapped and carefully stowed away. The work area should be kept clean by: (a) removing dustbins, bags, wrapping and large waste; (b) avoiding sweeping the floor in a dry state as this can raise dust which contaminates the food; (c) regularly repairing damage to the floor; (d)After food preparation, disinfecting the floor with chlorinated water.


According to World Health Organization (WHO) which was later revised by Mulugeta and Bayeh (2011), wrote that food handling personnel play an important role in ensuring food safety throughout the chain of food production, storage and consumption. Also, WHO (2002) outlined the golden rules to ensure safety of food when being processed. Despite these set standards, food vendors most times neglect these rules thereby imposing risk of pathogens infesting food sold to school children.


Food poisoning and other food borne diseases occur in schools. The number of reported outbreaks of food-borne illnesses has been high, both in developed as well as developing countries .However, the problem is exacerbated in developing countries due to economic reasons, poverty, the lack of adequate health care facilities, and the dearth of data regarding food-borne diseases. This greatly compromises the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (particularly MDG 1, 4, 5 and 6) ( FAO,2013). The safety of street or vended foods is therefore one of the most pressing health and safety issues facing most developing countries since it leads to both public health and social consequences. According to Musa and Akande (2002) appropriate health education intervention directed to food vendors will assist them appreciate the hazard associated with food handling and how to avoid them.


WHO (1998) defined health education as comprising consciously constructed opportunities for learning, involving some form of communication designed to improve health literacy including improving knowledge and developing the life skills which are conducive to individual and community health. Green and Kreuter (2005), defined health education as any planned combination of learning experience designed to predispose, enable and reinforce voluntary behaviour conducive to health in individuals, groups or communities. However, promoting the health of children is a lot of work which involves all stakeholders working together at all levels (Durosaro, 2008). Therefore, Okuneye (2005) stressed that major stakeholders should draw public attention to the numerous issues that surround quality and safety of school vended food by carefully educating our food vendors and environmental workers on these issues. School provide excellent way of reaching the large number of young people to inculcate healthy habit and improve their health directly and prepare the future generation for better health (FMOH, 2006). Consequently inculcating healthy food hygiene habits to school children should be both theory and practice. An aspect of the practice includes ensuring that food vended in the schools is wholesome for human consumption.



HYPERLINK “ of problem

General observations show that most children of secondary school age are prone to cases of food poisoning due to exposure to food intake from food vendors because of the collapsing cafeteria system in secondary schools in Nigeria including Delta state. Consequently, the incidences of food poisoning seem to be on the increase and this may be attributed to knowledge deficient and poor food hygiene practice of the food vendors. According to Lyonga, Eighmy, & Robinson (2010) poor food hygiene practices lead to a whole lot of food borne illnesses e.g. typhoid, cholera, diarrhoea, food poisoning and food hazards which pose not only health threats to everyone but also contribute to economic and social burden.


In April 2008 for example, several National dailies reported that over 100 students of Government Girls Secondary School, Doma in Gombe metropolis were rushed to Gombe specialist Hospital after consuming a meal of beans. In addition to this, ten teachers from Government Day secondary school, Kofar Yan’daka, Katsina died of food poisoning at a workshop after eating lunch prepared by hired food vendor in June 2011. These tragic observations invariably can affect the health and academic wellbeing of the students.



In Oshimili south local government area of Delta state, it was observed that the cafeteria system is not functional in all the public secondary school. Thus, children patronise food vendors in schools with the possible risk of food poisoning.


In consideration of the noted issues and lack of cafeteria system in the public schools, this study will assess the effect of health education on food hygiene practices of food vendors in public Secondary schools at Oshimili south local government area, Delta State.


Significance of the study

The findings obtained on how food vendors store their food while transporting them to schools, the personal hygiene status of food vendors as well as the environmental hygiene of the schools’ vending sites revealed areas of deficiencies by the food vendors in observing food hygiene practice which was used to develop health education intervention content. This was useful in health educating the food vendors, so that there will be a positive change in behaviour. This change in behaviour will help prevent the incidence of food poisoning among the school children, the staff of the school that patronize the food vendors and the parent of the pupils who would have spent much in treating their children. The study provided information that will assist our public health officers and school management in making decision on how to ensure good school health programmes. The study also provided evidence for further studies on food hygiene in public schools and added to the existing body of knowledge.



Purpose of study

The purpose of this study is to determine the effect of health education on food hygiene practices of food vendors in public secondary schools at Oshimili south local government Area. The specific objectives are to:

  • identify cooked food storage hygiene practices among food vendors in public secondary schools in Oshimili south L.G.A.
  • determine personal hygiene practices of the food vendors in public secondary schools in Oshimili south L.G.A.
  • determine the environmental hygiene practices among the food vendors in the food vending site.
  • determine the effect of health educations on the cooked food storage, personal hygiene and environmental hygiene among the food vendors.


Research questions

  1. What are the cooked food storage hygiene practices of the food vendors?
  2. What are the personal hygiene practices of the food vendors?
  • What are the environmental hygiene practices?
  1. What are the hygiene practices observed during serving of cooked food/snacks?
  2. What is the effect of health education on the food hygiene practices of food vendors?



Health education has no significant influence on food vendors’ hygiene practices in the public secondary schools at Oshimili south local government area of Delta state.


Scope of study

The study is delimited to all the food vendors in public secondary schools in Oshimili south local government area of Delta state. The study covered the cooked food storage hygiene practices, personal hygiene practice, and environmental hygiene practices of these food vendors. It also covered health education intervention and effect of this health education on the hygiene practices of the food vendors in public secondary schools in Oshimili south local government area, Delta state.


Operational definition of terms

  1. Food hygiene practice – this refers to all measures taken by the food vendors to ensure safe and wholesome practice during handling of food, e.g. cooked food storage practices, environmental cleanliness of food premises and the personal hygiene of the food vendors.
  2. Food storage practice- this refers to where food is stored such as the food warmer, stainless bowls with cover and rubber bowls with seal used while transporting it in a tricycle, pushcart or wheel barrow into the school and the way the food is stored either in a warmer, glass wears or covered rubber bowl while attending to customers.
  3. Environmental hygiene: this involves the cleanliness of the vending premises, good waste bin with a seal, location of vending site (near the dumping site or toilet, under the canopy or an open place, cemented, tiled or top soil floor).
  4. Personal hygiene: this refers to how often the food vendors wear neat clothes, clean apron, cover their hairs neatly and wear short finger nails.
  5. Food vendors – these are individuals of both males and females who prepare cooked food or buys already prepared snacks from whole sealers, store in a wormer and sell the food to the secondary school children in Oshimili South Local Government Area.
  6. Health education- teaching food vendors about the “eight golden rules for safe food” by the world health organization (2011) and the principles guiding food vendors in identified areas of deficiency. These includes; washing hands repeatedly, prepare food for only one meal, use safe water, be cautious with food , food should be sold in clean environment, raw food should be cooked thoroughly, avoid contact between raw foods and cooked food, food should be covered against flies and dust, food preparers/ vendors should always observed best personal hygiene.