Food handlers with poor personal hygiene working in a food service establishment could be potential sources of infection due to pathogenic organisms. This study reports the pathogenic microorganisms isolated from the palms of food handlers at the Institute of Management and Technology canteens. Ten samples were analyzed for the presence of pathogenic microorganisms following standard procedure. E.coli were the predominant bacteria (33%) followed by Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococci,salmonella and shigella that have 23%, 18%, 15% and 11% respectively. The quality index for the hand swabs for E.coli,Streptococcus, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella and Shigella are 80%, 55%, 80%,55% and 40% respectively. The findings emphasized the importance of food handlers as potential sources of infection and suggest that there is need to improve on hygiene practice in the school canteen in order to prevent or reduce the incidence of food borne diseases.
Food handlers with poor personal hygiene working in food service establishment could be potential sources of infection due to pathogenic organisms. Microbial contaminants such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa and helminthes constitutes the major cause of food borne disease with varying degree of severity ranging from mild indisposition to chronic or life threatening illness or both in developing countries such as cholera,campylobacterosis, E.coli, gastroenteritis, Salmonellosis, Shigella, typhoid fever, brucellosis, ameobiasis and poliomyelitis (Edema et al, 2000).
Aerobic colony counts, coliform and enterococci enumeration are useful and most often used as a means of assuming overall sanitation in the environments of food service establishment (moyo and baudi, 2004). The presence of indicator organisms, pathogens, a high bacteria count in food contact surfaces, equipment and utensils provide a direct and relevant measures of cleaning efficiency and hygiene (moyo and baudi, 2004). However when a contamination of food by pathogen occurs in a canteen, restaurants or fast food, improper sanitation, cross contamination and long interval between preparation and consumption a large number of people over a wide area will be affected (Bean et al, 1990).
1.1 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Observation shows that most of the food handlers within the institute premises lack personal hygiene, which is one of the contributing factors of food borne illness and poor hand washing, is a significant contributory factor. Another aspect of food service that frequently causes comment is the way food handlers within the institute premises prepares the food, takes the money for the purchase returns change to the customer and then prepares food for the next customer, this is also a means of transferring microorganisms since anything that gets on money gets on the hands.
1.2 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The objective of the project is to isolate and determine microorganisms from the hands of food handlers in Institute of Management and Technology school canteen. In addition, to bring to the awareness of the food handlers the importance of personal hygiene.
H1: Pathogenic microorganisms were isolated from hands of handlers in the Institute of Management and Technology school canteen.
H2: Pathogenic microorganisms were not isolated from the hands of food handlers in the Institute of Management and Technology school canteen.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
This study is very timely especially today that there is increased awareness on the importance of healthy living and personal hygiene. The study will be of immense benefit to the general public, institutions and organized food handlers and retailers because safe food practices is imperative given to the potential for widespread outbreaks of food borne illness.
1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This research work covers only few canteens within the school premises.
1.6 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This work was limited to isolation of very few bacteria from the hands of the food handlers within the school premises this is because microorganisms are very sensitive to the environment especially temperature. Lack of proper temperature due to lack of power supply for the growth of microorganisms was a limiting factor.