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Medical examination of food handlers: A missing link in food safety

Rajeev Kumar, Puja Dudeja, Anita Maurya, Dhananjay Kumar Singh.


Background: Unhealthy food handlers have been implicated in occurrence of various foodborne illnesses (FBIs). The benefits acquired by routine medical examination of food handlers are as a strong preventive tool in hands of public health experts in reducing the episodes of FBI. Medical examination of handlers is complementary toward the World Health Day theme of the WHO 2015 “food safety” and Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

Objective: The objective of this study was as follows: (i) To study the sociodemographic profile of the food handlers working in food establishment of tertiary care hospital and (ii) to estimate the parasite load among food handlers working in food establishments of a tertiary care hospital.

Materials and Methods: It was a cross-sectional study carried over a period of 3 months. Sampling method employed was Simple Random Sampling. The total number of subjects was 86. The Institutional Ethics Committee approval was obtained. They were interviewed face to face using a semi-structured questionnaire and were assessed clinically for personal hygiene and head-to-toe examination. Stool examination was done for all using simple floatation technique.

Results: Mean age of food handlers was 29 ± 2 years. Two-thirds (75%) of food handlers were educated

Key words: Food Safety; Food Handlers; Medical Examination

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