ABSTRACT: This descriptive research work aimed to investigate The Effects of Improper Fast Food Handling On Health in Eket Local Government Area. To guide this work, three objectives were sets thus: to identify the factors responsible for improper food handling; to examine the health implication of improper handling of fast food in the study area; and to determine the control measures for improper food handling in Eket Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. Three hypotheses were also formulated based on the set objectives. Related literature was reviewed on the study and Health Belief Model (HBM) was used to support the study. Related literatures were reviewed on the major variables. The sample size of 100 respondents was selected using simple random sampling technique. The instrument for data collection was questionnaire. Chi-square (c2) was used to test the null hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance.
The result gathered from the study revealed that there is significant relationship between factors responsible for improper food handling and the health of the people; that there is significant relationship between the effect of improper food handling and the health of the people; and that there is significant relationship between control measures of improper food handling and the health of the people in Eket Local Government Area. Based on these findings, conclusion was drawn and recommendations were made among others that Personal hygiene, environmental sanitation, rodent and pest control should be encouraged among food handlers.
The Effects of Improper Fast Food Handling On Health
1.1 Background to the Study
Food is any substance that is consumed to provide nutritional support to the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin and contains essential nutrients that aid the growth and development of the organism. More so, food is a substance that is eaten, drunk or otherwise taken into the body to sustain life, provide energy and promote growth (Bamidele, 2009).
Food safety is defined as a careful protection of food from various contaminants during acquisition, handling, transportation, storage, preparation, distribution and consumption levels in order to prevent food born diseases and illnesses in human population (Ifeadike, 2012). The most common mistake in handling and preparing of food are the inappropriate storage of food (including inadequate refrigeration, failure to attain a required cooking or reheating temperature) any action that results in cross-contamination and the presence of an infected food handler. The presence of microbes in our food can cause food poisoning. This can be controlled by heating (cooking) or chilling (refrigeration) our food, but if given the chance they can easily spread around the kitchen via our hands, chopping boards, clothes, knives as well as other utensils (Dibia, 2011).
The incidence of food borne disease is increasing at homes, it is now accepted that many cases of food borne illnesses occur as a result of improper food handling and preparation by food handlers. By its very nature, the home is a multifunctional setting and this directly impact upon the need for better food safety in the home (Ernest, 2010).
Moreover, home hygiene practice and consumer hygiene products are being refined and targeted to areas of risk, including preventing onward transmission of food borne illness via the inanimate environment. It should be said that food safety in home is the last line of defence against food borne diseases (Ifeadike, 2012).
According to Ernest (2010), there are a number of factors which are likely to contribute to outbreaks of food borne illnesses at home, including a raw food supply that is frequently contaminated, lack of awareness among the general public, mistake in food handling and preparation at home and the deliberate consumption of raw and under cooked food. Of raw eating behaviour, raw foods, including meat and poultry, raw eggs, fish and shellfish, fruits and vegetables should all be considered as potential entry source of food borne pathogens into the home.
Agents of fast food contamination may enter the food through unclean hands, sweat dropping during preparation, unclean cloths, utensils, dirty water, dirty environment, poor storage facilities, transportation of prepared fast food with raw food (Jug, 2008). Flies, rodents and vermin infest in opened fast food and in the course of feeding, contaminate the fast food with bacterial viral and parasitic agents, thereby causing diarrhoea, typhoid fever, cholera, dysentery, headache and cough, vomiting and many other diseases (Festus, 2011). It is on this note that the study on the impact of improper handling of fast food on health in Eket Local Government Area emanated from.
The Effects of Improper Fast Food Handling On Health
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The poor way, manner and method through which food items, utensils and the whole surroundings of food premises are handled by food handlers pose severe havoc and its effect on health is life-threatening in the community. A close observation in Eket Local Government Area shows that foods intended for public consumptions are not well covered; they are exposed to flies, dust, animals, and dirty containers. It is further noted that many of those food handlers do not know how personal hygiene should be maintained. There are menace to consumers. For instance, filthy habits such as scratching of the body while handling food items, preparation of food using dirty post, poor personal hygiene before and after food preparation, sneezing without covering the nose, long-painted nails and exposure of food items to flies and other vermin of medical importance. Based on this backdrop, the researcher is motivated to undertake a study on improper handling of fast food and health implication in the study area.