THE KNOWLEDGE, ATTITUDES AND PRACTICES OF FOOD HANDLERS ON FOOD HYGIENE IN PUBLIC EATING PLACES IN KUMI MUNICIPALITY, KUMI DISTRICT.
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Introduction: Food borne illnesses has devastated the health of humans among developed and developing countries and this has been attributed to poor food handling amongst the food handlers. Food borne infections in Uganda are among the major causes of mortality and it was vital to identify and address the missing gaps in food hygiene amongst food handlers. Objective: This study assessed the knowledge, attitude and practices on food hygiene among food handlers in public eating places in Kumi Municipality, Kumi District. Methods: A descriptive, cross-sectional study design that utilized quantitative research approach was conducted. Eating houses were sampled systematically and only two respondents at eating house were randomly selected. Data on socio-demographics, knowledge, attitudes and practices of food handlers towards food hygiene was collected through face-to-face interviews with the respondents and observations. Data collected was entered using EPIDATA and later analyzed with STATA 14.0 software. Univariate analysis was done and results were presented in form of tables and graphs. Results: 110 food handlers participated in this study and majority (83.6%, 92/110) were females. Most (42.7%, 47/110) respondents had low level of education and more than three quarters (79.1%, 87/110) belonged to 18-30 age group and. The food handlers had good food safety knowledge (81.4%, 90/110) with a positive attitude (79.0%, 87/110) towards food safety and exhibited good food safety practices (74.3%, 82/110). Conclusion: This study found a high level of food safety knowledge, positive attitudes towards food safety and exhibited safe food practices among food handlers in Kumi municipal Council. These study findings indicate that the food handlers had good knowledge on food safety translated into good food handling practices and this was as result of their positive attitudes towards food safety. Continuous practice of health inspection by the public health department and medical examination of all food handlers should be ensured on regular basis