An investigation into the incidence of food pathogenic bacteria in senior secondary school canteens in the Ashanti region of Ghana and the effect of food safety interventions

Ababio, Patricia (2015) An investigation into the incidence of food pathogenic bacteria in senior secondary school canteens in the Ashanti region of Ghana and the effect of food safety interventions. PhD thesis, University of Lincoln.

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Food hygiene practices and standards and their implication on food safety among students in Senior High Schools in the Ashanti Region of Ghana and the effect of two food safety interventions were investigated due to increasing cases of food poisoning from schools reported in the media.
Forty five sampled schools in the Ashanti Region were audited and compared with 10 schools from Lincolnshire, UK, as a means of categorising the schools into hygiene standards. Whilst all schools audited in Lincolnshire were in excellent hygiene category (9.0 - 10.0), in the Ashanti Region, only 17.8% were in good category (7.0 - 8.9), 73.3% were in medium (5.0 - 6.9) and 8.9% were in poor hygiene category (2.0 - 4.9). Although 60% of the sampled schools in Ashanti Region served between 1000 – 3000 students daily, there was no evidence of Food Safety Management System in place and 52% of the 180 sampled students reported to have experienced foodborne infections 3-12 times per year within their 1 and 2 years in secondary school. Staff hygiene training was absent in schools which led to substandard hygiene practices with low food and personal hygiene test scores. Although there was supervision, 31% of the kitchen matrons reported they had no hygiene qualification in Ghana.
Early food preparation times with absence of hot holding equipment in the kitchens encouraged temperature abuse of Ready-to-Eat meals with Aerobic Colony Count (ACC), Bacillus cereus, total coliforms, Staphylococcus aureus, yeast and moulds counts exceeding the national acceptable limits for cooked meals. Lack of standardised hand washing and utensils cleaning procedure increased microbiological contaminants (ACC, coliforms, S. aureus, yeast and moulds) above existing advisory guidelines after washing.
Eleven schools from the Ashanti Region of Ghana after the hygiene categorisation were given GHP training as an intervention and the previous hygiene indicators reassessed. There were improvements in all hygiene indicators with significant differences in staff food hygiene
knowledge (Z= -2.934, p=0.001), personal hygiene requirement (Z= -2.847, p=0.001) and food temperature (Z= -2.142, p=0.015) Post GHP. ACC, total coliforms and Staphylococcus aureus levels were significantly reduced (p<0.05) in jollof rice. Microbiological contaminants on food contact surfaces and staff hands reduced Post GHP with significant reduction in ACC and coliforms with the exception of serving pans. Post HACCP results for all measured indicators were comparable to other international reports from schools with HACCP in place. Food temperature significantly improved [χ2 (2) =8.400, p=0.008]. Jollof rice microbiological contaminants reduced with up to 100% satisfactory rate for ACC and yeast and moulds, 80% for Staphylococcus aureus and 60% for Bacillus cereus. Coliforms significantly reduced [χ2 (2) =9.580, p=0.002] but had only 40% satisfactory rate. Post HACCP ACC on staff hands and food contact surfaces were significantly reduced (p<0.05) and also yeast and mould for the latter [χ2 (2) =7.600, p=0.024]. Reduction of total coliforms was not significantly different for both staff hands and utensils probably due to absence of disinfection. Food service/dishing time reduced to the agreed time (30-60 minutes) to student’s meal time.
Post hoc analysis with Wilcoxon’s signed-rank test was conducted with Bonferroni’s correction. There were significant reductions in Post GHP - Pre GHP; food temperature (Z=-2.625, p=0.003), S. aureus in jollof rice (Z=-2.803, p=0.001), ACC (Z=-2.578, p=0.003), yeast and mould (Z=-2.490, p=0.005) on food contact surfaces.
There was enough evidence to prove that GHP significantly improved hygiene and food safety. The study recommends the introduction of GHP and applied HACCP principles in schools.

Keywords:School meals, staff hygiene, microbiological safety, Food safety interventions
Subjects:D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D633 Food and Beverage Technology
D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D620 Food Hygiene
D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D610 Food Science
Divisions:College of Science > National Centre for Food Manufacturing
ID Code:23680
Deposited On:24 Aug 2016 11:39

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