‘Proper Food Safety, Hand Washing Prevent Food-borne Illness’

Developing countries including Nigeria are worst affected by food-borne illnesses due to the presence of a wide range of diseases, which can and did inflict serious and extensive harm on society.



According to  Dr. Robert Limlim,The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Representative in Nigeria, diarrhea, caused by poor sanitation and hygiene practices is the second leading cause of death amongst Nigerian Children (after malaria).



The diarrhoea prevalence rate in Nigeria is 18.8 per cent and is one of the worst in sub-Sahara Africa and above the average of 16 per cent; killingan estimated 150,000 under five children yearly.



However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US have stated that increased awareness and implementation of proper food safety in restaurants and delis may help prevent many of the foodborne illness outbreaks reported each year.



In the report by CDC, researchers identified gaps in the education of restaurant workers as well as public health surveillance, two critical tools necessary in preventing a very common and costly public health problem.



The research identifies food preparation and handling practices, worker health policies, and hand-washing practices among the underlying environmental factors that often are not reported during foodborne outbreaks, even though nearly half of all the foodborne outbreaks that are reported each year are associated with restaurants or delis in the US.



“Inspectors have not had a formal system to capture and report the underlying factors that likely contribute to foodborne outbreaks or a way to inform prevention strategies and implement routine corrective measures in restaurants, delis and schools to prevent future outbreaks,” said Carol Selman, head of CDC’s Environmental Health Specialists Network team at the National Center for Environmental Health.



Also, reports in the Journal of Food Protection focus on actions steps to prevent foodborne illness outbreaks related to ground beef, chicken, and leafy vegetables like lettuce and spinach.



However, focus should also be on specific food safety practices, such as ill workers not working while they are sick, as a key prevention strategy.



According to Limlim, the most recent study indicates that hand washing can reduce diarrhoea episodes by about 30 per cent and up to 47 per cent reduction has been achieved in some cases.

Culled from Daily Times

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