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Study of sociodemographic characteristics and awareness about personal hygiene among the food handlers

Arun Singh, Varsha Chaudhary, Kiran Agarwal, Hari Shankar Joshi, Kusum Narula, Rahul Chandra.

Background: The contamination of food items prepared in food establishments depends largely on the health status of food handlers and their hygiene, behavior, and practices. The transmission of the microorganisms and/or their toxins responsible for food-borne illnesses among medical, dental, and nursing students depends on the health status and hygiene of handlers and on the sanitary conditions of the food establishments.

Objective: To assess the health and hygiene status of the food handlers and to evaluate the sanitary conditions of food establishments of teaching hospitals.

Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study using purposive sampling technique was conducted from August 2013 to July 2014, on all 181 food handlers working in the food establishments of three teaching hospitals in Bareilly.

Result: Of the total (181) mess workers, majority (47%) were of age group younger than 20 years; 84% were male subjects, and 49.7% belonged to other backward castes. About 51.4% were illiterates, 60.2% from urban areas, 40.9% main cook, 56.9% below poverty line, 47% duration of service

Key words: Health status, personal hygiene, food handlers, mess workers, food establishments

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