1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Recently, a number of food-borne illnesses occurred
worldwide have aroused the concern and anxiety of the public about food safety.
Most of these food-borne illnesses are caused by mishandling or improper
preparation/storage of food by food handlers. In order to ensure food safety
and prevent food poisoning, all food businesses including food service
organizations should comply with the existing food regulations as well as
prepare their own food safety plan to prevent food poisoning.
The increasing number of food poisoning
outbreaks and food-related scares has led to calls for better hygiene and
quality practices. Food poisoning outbreaks of salmonella, listeria, and
Escherichia coli have made the public more skeptical of the food they consume.
In recent months the debate surrounding The European Commission has recognized
the importance of controlling food-poisoning outbreaks owing to the increasing
number of meals consumed outside the home, in parallel with the ever-expanding
range of pre-prepared meals.
This changing consumer lifestyle
emphasizes the need for better, effective ways of controlling food hygiene.
There is strong statistical evidence that the incidence of food poisoning
caused by caterers is greater than in any other food sector, accounting for 70%
of all bacterial food poisoning outbreaks. Seventy per cent of these food
poisoning outbreaks are due to the inadequate time and temperature control of
food, while the remaining 30% are the result of cross-contamination (Wilson,
Murray, Black, & McDowell, 1997).
The hands of food service employees can
be vectors in the spread of food-borne diseases because of poor personal
hygiene or cross-contamination. For example, an employee might contaminate his
hands when using the toilet, or bacteria might be spread from raw meat to salad
greens by food handler’s hands, point out that data on risk factors for
food-borne diseases imply that most outbreaks result from improper food
handling practices (Ehiri & Morris, 1996). A study in the USA suggested
that improper food handler practices contributed to approximately 97% of
food-borne illnesses in food-service establishments and homes (Howes, McEwen,
Griffiths, & Harris, 1996).
Food poisoning follows the ingestion of
microorganisms that may have been present in already contaminated food, which
may have resulted from inadequate food preservation techniques or unsafe
handling practices or which may have arisen from cross-contamination from
surfaces, equipment, or, less likely, from persons who carry enterotoxigenic staphylococci
in their nails or on their skin (Barrie, 1996; Jay, Comar, & Govenlock,
1999). Similarly, infected food handlers are also a common source of food-borne
viruses such as the Hepatitis A virus and the diarrhoea-causing, small
round-structured viruses which are excreted in large numbers by infected
individuals. Many cases of foodborne virus infection have been associated with
catering (WHO, 1999). Poor sanitary practices in food storage, handling, and
preparation can create an environment in which bacteria such as camphylobacter,
salmonella, and other infectious agents are more easily transmitted (Fielding,
Aguirre, & Palaiologos, 2001; Gent, Telford, & Syed, 1999).
Food handlers may transmit pathogens
passively from a contaminated source, for example, from raw poultry to a food
such as cold cooked meat that is to be eaten without further heating. They may
also, however, themselves to be sources of organisms either during the course
of gastrointestinal illness or during and after convalescence, when they no
longer have symptoms.
During the acute stages of
gastroenteritis large number of organisms are excreted and by the nature of the
disease are likely to be widely dispersed; clearly, food handlers who are
symptomatically ill may present a real hazard and should be excluded from work.
Good hygiene, both personal and in food handling practices, is the basis for
preventing the transmission of pathogens from food handling personnel to
consumer. (Bryan, 1988; Evans et al., 1998). The Food and Drug Administration
(FDA), with support from enforcement agencies and the food industry and
catering establishment has endorsed food service worker training since 1976;
however, since that time, the retail food service industry, has intensified
efforts to improve retail food safety through training of restaurant managers
and employees (Lynch, Elledge, Griffith, & Boatrigh, 2003).
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
When food poisoning outbreaks are
investigated it has been established that small and medium sized catering
establishments are often important locations in the transmission of food-borne
illness and poisoning. There are many issues imposing risk on food safety due
to industrialization and mass production, emergence of longer and more complex
food chains, fast food consumption, street vendors and growing international
trade and tourism. Besides, long-term inflation and other economical causes;
advertisements, growing eating out habits (fast foods, restaurant meals etc.)
are also the likely causes of food safety problems. The purpose of this study
is to examine the methods of prevention of food poisoning in a catering
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
following are the objectives of this study:
examine the prevalence of food poisoning in catering establishments.
examine the methods of preventing food poisoning in catering establishments.
identify the factors causing food poisoning in catering establishments.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
is the prevalence of food poisoning in catering establishments?
are the methods of preventing food poisoning in catering establishments?
are the factors causing food poisoning in catering establishments?
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
following are the significance of this study:
outcome of this study will educate caterers, small and medium scale food
sellers and the general public on the approaches to the prevention of food
poisoning especially in catering establishments.
research will be a contribution to the body of literature in the area of the
effect of personality trait on student’s academic performance, thereby
constituting the empirical literature for future research in the subject area.
1.7 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
study will cover the approaches to prevent against food poisoning in catering
LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the
researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information
and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will
simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently
will cut down on the time devoted for the research work
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Ehiri, J. E., &
Morris, G. P. (1996). Hygiene training and education of food handlers: Does it
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Evans, H. S., Madden,
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Gent, R. N., Telford,
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Lynch, R., Elledge,
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