FAO hygiene survey gives Accra food vendors high score
A survey by the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has scored food vendors in Accra high on hygiene, though it raised grave concerns about food handling that requires attention.
According to the study, most of the vendors did not undergo medical screening, nor attended training courses on food hygiene and safety, or have a valid food handling certificate.
The study was conducted in collaboration with the School of Public Health at the University of Ghana.
The provisional findings on the first sample of 1,700 street food vendors as of April 2016 showed that the overall hygienic and safety conditions under which street foods were prepared and sold in Accra were acceptable.
When assessed using a series of hygiene and safety indicators, the quality of cooking tools got the highest score, followed by the quality of the environment surrounding the selling points.
Uncovered organic waste was rarely found near food joints but a few selling points were surrounded by dirty ground.
According to the study, most of the vendors are located at a safe distance from open air sewers and rubbish bins were available at most sites visited.
The availability and quality of water and washing supplies on the spot also had a positive score, despite the fact that most vendors rely on water in buckets.
It was also found that while running water was rarely available at food selling points, most of them had soap and/or hand sanitizers.
However, food vendors were found to rarely wear latex or plastic gloves and did not cover their hair.
Most of the stalls were with no protective walls, though most of them had a roof which they kept at a safe distance from trees that could leak bird droppings and leaves.
The survey also found that most stands on which the foods were displayed were often too close to the ground as well.