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The personal and general hygiene practices of food handlers in the delicatessen sections of retail outlets in South Africa.


The high incidence of foodborne illnesses A foodborne illness (also foodborne disease) is any illness resulting from the consumption of food. Although foodborne illness is commonly called food poisoning, this is often a misnomer.  has led to an increase in global concern about food safety. Several foodborne-disease outbreaks have been reported to have been associated with poor personal hygiene personal hygiene person nKörperhygiene f  of people handling foodstuffs foodstuffs nplcomestibles mpl

foodstuffs npldenrées fpl alimentaires

foodstuffs food npl
 (Altekruse, Timbo, Mowbray, Bean, & Potter, 1998; Bryan, 1988; Parish, 1998; Shapiro et al., 1999; Vought & Tatini, 1998). Food handlers have a major responsibility in the prevention of contamination associated with food spoilage spoilage

decomposition; said of meat, milk, animal feeds especially ensilage.
 and food poisoning food poisoning, acute illness following the eating of foods contaminated by bacteria, bacterial toxins, natural poisons, or harmful chemical substances. It was once customary to classify all such illnesses as "ptomaine poisoning," but it was later discovered that  during the production and distribution of food and, if personal hygiene is unsatisfactory, they may cross-contaminate raw and processed foodstuffs or asymptomatic carriers asymptomatic carrier,
n an individual who serves as host for an infectious agent but who does not show any apparent signs of the illness; may serve as a source of infection for others.
 of pathogenic path·o·gen·ic or path·o·ge·net·ic
1. Having the capability to cause disease.

2. Producing disease.

3. Relating to pathogenesis.
 organisms may contribute to the spread of disease (Walker, Pitchard, & Forsythe, 2003). Although significant advances have been made with respect to food safety, in many developing countries inadequate practices and surveillance systems persist, and there is often a risk of food being microbiologically hazardous to the consumer (Department of Health, South Africa South Africa, Afrikaans Suid-Afrika, officially Republic of South Africa, republic (2005 est. pop. 44,344,000), 471,442 sq mi (1,221,037 sq km), S Africa. , 2000a; Escartin, 1997). The socioeconomic impact of foodborne illness includes loss of productivity, loss of income, loss of trade, loss of food as a result of condemnations, and ultimately loss of tourism (Department of Health, South Africa, 2000b).

As a result of the internationalization The support for monetary values, time and date for countries around the world. It also embraces the use of native characters and symbols in the different alphabets. See localization, i18n, Unicode and IDN.

internationalization - internationalisation
 of South African industry after the removal of sanctions, a growing awareness has developed about the importance of quality improvement to being competitive. Improvement is achieved through formalized for·mal·ize  
tr.v. for·mal·ized, for·mal·iz·ing, for·mal·iz·es
1. To give a definite form or shape to.

a. To make formal.

 disciplines such as the HACCP HACCP

hazard analysis critical control points.
 system and by replacing the traditional concepts of quality control with an emphasis on end-product monitoring (Mbendi, 2003). According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

 the South African Regulations related to the application of the HACCP system, no owner of a delicatessen (including a delicatessen on supermarket premises as per Annex A in the regulations) is allowed to handle food without a HACCP system being fully implemented to the satisfaction of the relevant authority (Republic of South Africa, 2003). The provision of food hygiene training for all food handlers should significantly reduce food contamination and, as a result, the incidence of foodborne diseases (Ehiri & Morris, 1996). Therefore, management should ensure that all staff are medically fit, adequately trained in both personal and food hygiene practices, and wearing clean, protective clothing when entering or working on the food premises (South African Bureau of Standards Bureau of Standards
 since 1988 U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce responsible for the standardization of weights and measures, timekeeping, and navigation.
, 2001). Kitcher (1994) and Tebbutt (1992) identified correlations among management's attitude toward training, levels of hygiene knowledge, and standards of food-handling practice. Food hygiene training is therefore crucial in food safety and an essential part of the HACCP concept (Walker et al., 2003).

The aim of the study reported here was to cast light on the personal and general hygiene practices of food handlers in the delicatessen sections of a major retail group as well as to investigate their level of training in personal and general hygiene. There is a constant competition among outlets based on quality, safety, and wholesomeness, and the results of the study will be available to the management so that it can assess the need for further training.


Pilot Study

The questionnaire was piloted at one outlet, where it was administered to six food handlers who were not included in the actual test sample. The purpose of the pilot study was to assess the clarity of the questions and to determine time requirements, as it was important that the time required for completing the questionnaire was not perceived by retail outlet retail outlet npunto de venta

retail outlet npoint m de vente

retail outlet retail n
 managers as disruptive to normal activities (Walker et al., 2003).

Interviewing Protocol

Interviews were conducted among a random selection of food handlers in the delicatessen sections of 35 outlets of a major retail group in the Western Cape The Western Cape is a province in the south west of South Africa. The capital is Cape Town. Prior to 1994, the region that now forms the Western Cape was part of the huge (and now defunct) Cape Province. , South Africa. The management of the retail group granted permission for interviews to be conducted with the food handlers in the delicatessen sections after a confidentiality agreement was signed. Fifty respondents were individually interviewed during working hours (weekdays between 10:00 and 14:00) without previous notification. To limit variation, the interviews were conducted by the same interviewer and care was taken to ensure consistency of approach in the conduct of the survey on each of the food premises and to minimize any influences or subsequent biases in results (Walker & Jones, 2002).

Questionnaire Design

The questionnaire was structured to obtain information about each food handler's training and knowledge of personal and general-process hygiene and consisted of 37 questions that included both closed and open-ended questions A closed-ended question is a form of question, which normally can be answered with a simple "yes/no" dichotomous question, a specific simple piece of information, or a selection from multiple choices (multiple-choice question), if one excludes such non-answer responses as dodging a  (Coggon, 1995). The aim of the survey was clearly stated on the questionnaire, and the confidentiality of the survey was emphasized to the respondents. Interviews were conducted in the languages predominantly used by the food handlers (Afrikaans and English), and the structured interview method, as described by Czaja and Blair (1996) and Katzenellenbogen, Joubert, and Karim (1997), was followed. This method was advantageous because 1) it had a well-defined structure that prevented the respondents from making their own interpretations, 2) it allowed respondents with low or no literacy levels to be interviewed, and 3) the interviewer could explain questions that were not clear to the respondent.

Data Analysis

The questionnaires were coded and analyzed in collaboration with the Department of Bio-statistics, University of the Free State The University of the Free State is situated in Bloemfontein, the capital of the Free State Province, South Africa. Bloemfontein is a modern city offering a full range of recreational, commercial and educational facilities, but which also retains a laid-back atmosphere that  (SAS/STAT, 1989). The results were presented in tables in the form of frequencies and percentages (Nel, Lues lues /lu·es/ (loo´ez) syphilis.luet´ic

n. pl. lues

, Buys, & Venter venter /ven·ter/ (ven´ter) pl. ven´tres   [L.]
1. a fleshy contractile part of a muscle.

2. abdomen.

3. a hollowed part or cavity.

, 2004).


All the respondents interviewed in the study were full-time employees in the delicatessen sections of retail outlets. Responses on general questions revealed the age distribution of the workers (data not shown) as follows: 18 to 21 years (18 percent), 22 to 30 years (32 percent), 30 to 40 years (28 percent), and older than 40 years (22 percent). Educational qualifications ranged from 74 percent with less than a high-school senior certificate to 24 percent with a senior certificate to only 2 percent with a post-school qualification. With respect to experience, 2 percent had less than three months' work experience in the delicatessen section, 14 percent had more than 6 to 12 months' experience, and 84 percent had more than a year's experience.

Although only 72 percent of respondents reported that a handwashing facility with soap and air dryer An air dryer is a device that is mounted directly after an air compressor and dries the air. Compressed air is kept in pressure vessels, mostly made out of steel. Wet air will corode the pressure vessels inside and rust in a pressure vessel may contaminate the pneumatic system so  or disposable hand-drying material were available in restrooms, all respondents indicated that they washed their hands before the commencement of each work shift, after a rest period, after having a smoke, or after visiting the toilet or handling money, refuse, or a refuse container (Table 1). Not all the respondents (49 of 50) said that they washed their hands every time they blew their nose or touched their hair, nose, or mouth, and 48 of 50 (96 percent) washed their hands after handling raw vegetables, fruit, eggs, meat, or fish or before handling ready-to-eat food. Forty-seven of the respondents (94 percent) washed their hands under all circumstances mentioned. With respect to the means of handwashing, 8 of 50 respondents (16 percent) used cold water, soap, and a nailbrush nail·brush  
A small brush with firm bristles used for scrubbing the hands and cleaning the fingernails and toenails.

Noun 1.
; 44 percent used hot water, soap, and a nailbrush; and 40 percent used hot and cold water and soap. Disposable hand-drying material was used by almost all of the respondents (98 percent), except for one, who admitted to sometimes using his or her apron or clothes for hand drying (Table 1).

Three of the 50 respondents (6 percent) kept their fingernails long, and 6 (12 percent) wore jewelery when at work (Table 2). When the respondents were asked whether they wore moisture-proof dressings after accidentally cutting themselves, four (8 percent) admitted to wearing dressings that were not moisture-proof. The wearing of protective clothing is also summarized in Table 2. Twelve of the respondents (24 percent) replaced their aprons two to five times a day, while two (4 percent) replaced their aprons more than five times a day. With respect to the frequency of glove replacement, four (8 percent) indicated that they replaced their gloves with clean ones two to five times a day, while the other 92 percent replaced their gloves more than five times a day. All 50 respondents discarded their gloves after removing them.

Inquiries about illness at work (data not shown), revealed that 46 of 50 (92 percent) never suffered from diarrhea, while 4 of 50 (8 percent) had diarrhea once per year; 47 of 50 (94 percent) never vomited, while 2 of 50 (4 percent) vomited once per year; 90 percent never had a fever, while 4 of 50 (8 percent) had fever once per year; and 37 of 50 (74 percent) never had a cough, while 7 of 50 (14 percent) had a cough once per year. Upon being asked whether they ever had a cold or flu while working, 26 of 50 (52 percent) indicated that they did so once per year, while 3 of 50 (6 percent) indicated that they never suffered from a cold or flu at work. Cut or bruised hands were experienced once per year by 9 of 50 (18 percent), two to five times per year by 9 of 50 (18 percent), and more than 10 times per year by 3 (6 percent) of the respondents, while 5 (10 percent) never experienced cut or bruised hands.

Table 3 shows that 45 of 50 (90 percent) of the respondents reported illness to management. Thirty-seven (82 percent) of the 45 respondents who indicated that they reported illness stated that management would arrange for a medical examination and that they would also receive sick leave. Only 7 percent of the respondents, however, reported that they took sick leave, and only two (4 percent) went for a medical examination. Although it was evident that cuts and burns are common in this food-handling practice, three respondents (7 percent) reported that no action was taken by management after injuries were reported. Forty-seven (94 percent) of the respondents who reported an injury to management indicated that they covered the wound with a moisture-proof dressing. The remaining 6 percent of the respondents did not bother to apply any of these precautions.

Respondents were asked about the prevalence of rats, mice, flies, or cockroaches cockroaches

insects which may carry Salmonella spp. in their gut and play a part in the spread of the disease.
 in the food-handling areas (data not shown). Responses revealed that rats and mice were encountered as follows: never by 64 percent, daily by 4 percent, weekly by 6 percent, monthly by 10 percent, seasonally by 2 percent, and annually by 14 percent. Flies were encountered as follows: never by 24 percent, daily by 4 percent, and seasonally by 72 percent. Cockroaches were encountered as follows: never by 66 percent, daily by 10 percent, weekly by 2 percent, monthly by 16 percent, seasonally by 2 percent, and annually by 4 percent.

A formal cleaning schedule was not in place in all the outlets, as 8 percent of the respondents indicated that they "clean-as-they-go." As indicated in Table 4, one respondent reported that surfaces are only cleaned and washed after a day's work (Naut.) the account or reckoning of a ship's course for twenty-four hours, from noon to noon.

See also: Day
 is finished, while another one stated that surfaces are cleaned and washed daily before start of work, daily after work is finished, and during or immediately after the handling of food or both. Two respondents (4 percent) reported that surfaces are cleaned and washed daily after work is finished, between shifts, and during or after the handling of food or both, while 92 percent reported that surfaces are cleaned under all the circumstances mentioned. Cold water and detergent were used as a means of cleaning/washing by 22 percent of the respondents, and 78 percent used hot water and detergent (Table 4).

Forty-two of the 50 respondents (84 percent) indicated that they had received for-mal training on aspects of personal hygiene, while 42 of 50 (84 percent) had received formal training in general hygiene. The majority of these food handlers had received their training either at head office (36-38 percent) by means of courses and videos, or locally by videos only (33-36 percent).


The majority of foodborne-disease outbreaks result from faulty food-handling practices, and a study done in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area.  has suggested that improper food-handling practices contribute to approximately 97 percent of foodborne illnesses in food service establishments and homes (Clayton, Griffith, Price, & Peters, 2002). Pathogens that are most commonly associated with inadequate hygienic hy·gien·ic
1. Of or relating to hygiene.

2. Tending to promote or preserve health.

3. Sanitary.
 practices are the enter-obacteriaceae, such as Escherichia coli Escherichia coli (ĕsh'ərĭk`ēə kō`lī), common bacterium that normally inhabits the intestinal tracts of humans and animals, but can cause infection in other parts of the body, especially the urinary tract.  and other coliforms, as well as members of the genera genera, in taxonomy: see classification.  Salmonella, Shigella shigella

Any of the rod-shaped bacteria that make up the genus Shigella, which are normal inhabitants of the human intestinal tract and can cause dysentery, or shigellosis. Shigellae are gram-negative (see gram stain), non-spore-forming, stationary bacteria. S.
, Yersinia Yersinia

A genus of bacteria in the Enterobacteriaceae family. The bacteria appear as gram-negative rods and share many physiological properties with related Escherichia coli. Of the 11 species of Yersinia, Y. pestis, Y. enterocolitica, and Y.
, Proteus, and Klebsiella klebsiella

Any of the rod-shaped bacteria that make up the genus Klebsiella. They are gram-negative (see gram stain), thrive better without oxygen than with it, and do not move. K.
 (Nel et at., 2004). Effective handwashing is an essential control measure for prevention of pathogen Pathogen

Any agent capable of causing disease. The term pathogen is usually restricted to living agents, which include viruses, rickettsia, bacteria, fungi, yeasts, protozoa, helminths, and certain insect larval stages.
 transmission in food service establishments, and the health regulations under the Health Act stipulate stip·u·late 1  
v. stip·u·lat·ed, stip·u·lat·ing, stip·u·lates
a. To lay down as a condition of an agreement; require by contract.

 that it is the responsibility of food handlers to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water under all relevant circumstances (Republic of South Africa, 1999). Facilities for personnel should be adequate, and all handwashing basins in toilet areas must be supplied with hot and cold water, and hand-cleaning preparations in dispensers and paper towels or air hand-dryers should be provided (Codex Alimentarius Codex Alimentarius

a document entitled 'Recommended International Codes of Hygienic Practice for Fresh Meat, for Ante-Mortem and Post-Mortem Inspection of Slaughter Animals and for Processed Meat Products' published by FAO/WHO in 1976.
, 1997; Paulson et al., 1999; South African Bureau of Standards, 2001). The potential for cross-contamination is reduced, however, when disposable paper towels are used (Hobbs & Roberts, 1993).

Humans are often the source of disease-producing microorganisms, which occur as normal habitants Habitants is the name used to refer to both the French settlers and the America-born inhabitants of French origin who farmed the land along the two shores of the St. Lawrence waterway in what is the present-day Province of Quebec in Canada.  in certain parts of the body, mainly the hair, nose, mouth, throat, bowels, and skin. These microorganisms are then readily transferred to the hands. Even blowing one's nose into a handkerchief can contaminate con·tam·i·nate
1. To make impure or unclean by contact or mixture.

2. To expose to or permeate with radioactivity.

con·tam·i·nant n.
 the hands, and food handlers should avoid direct contact with food when possible (Martinez-Tome, Vera, & Murcia, 2000; South African Bureau of Standards, 2001). Epidemiological studies An Epidemiological study is a statistical study on human populations, which attempts to link human health effects to a specified cause.  show that one factor that often contributes to Staphylococcus staphylococcus (stăf'ələkŏk`əs), any of the pathogenic bacteria, parasitic to humans, that belong to the genus Staphylococcus. The spherical bacterial cells (cocci) typically occur in irregular clusters [Gr.  food-poisoning outbreaks is the human carrier who handles foods in food service establishments (Martinez-To-me et al., 2000). According to the health regulations, food shall not be handled by any individual who has on his or her body a suppurating sore Noun 1. suppurating sore - a sore that has become inflamed and formed pus

sore - an open skin infection
, cut, or abrasion abrasion /abra·sion/ (ah-bra´zhun)
1. a rubbing or scraping off through unusual or abnormal action; see also planing.

2. a rubbed or scraped area on skin or mucous membrane.
, unless the wound is covered by a moisture-proof dressing that is firmly secured (Republic of South Africa, 1999). Any behavior that could result in the contamination of food, such as eating and chewing (of gum, sticks and sweets) should also be prevented in food-handling establishments (Republic of South Africa, 1999; South African Bureau of Standards, 2001). It is also essential, when unprotected food or raw food materials are handled, that personnel remove jewelery from their hands, while fingernails should be kept short and clean (Republic of South Africa, 1999; South African Bureau of Standards, 2001).

Employees suffering from disease symptoms such as fever, diarrhea, upset stomach, nausea, vomiting vomiting, ejection of food and other matter from the stomach through the mouth, often preceded by nausea. The process is initiated by stimulation of the vomiting center of the brain by nerve impulses from the gastrointestinal tract or other part of the body. , sore throat Sore Throat Definition

Sore throat, also called pharyngitis, is a painful inflammation of the mucous membranes lining the pharynx. It is a symptom of many conditions, but most often is associated with colds or influenza.
, coughing, or sneezing--or even individuals suspected to be suffering from or to be carriers of a disease or illness that can readily be transmitted through food--should not be allowed to enter any food-handling area and should report illness or related symptoms to management (Codex Alimentarius, 1997; Lorenzini, 1995; Republic of South Africa, 1999; South African Bureau of Standards, 2001). During the acute stages of diseases such as gastroenteritis gastroenteritis: see enteritis.

Acute infectious syndrome of the stomach lining and intestines. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps.
, large numbers of organisms are excreted and can be widely dispersed (Bannister, Begg, & Gillespie, 2000). Food handlers who are symptomatically ill, therefore, present a serious health hazard health hazard Occupational safety Any agent or activity posing a potential hazard to health. Cf Physical hazard.  and should be excluded from work. Such individuals should furthermore be made aware of the need to immediately report illnesses and should be assured that if exclusion is necessary it will not result in loss of employment or wages. Medical examination of a food handler should be carried out if clinically or epidemiologically indicated (Codex Alimentarius, 1997), and a certificate by a medical practitioner should be submitted, stating whether such person is fit to handle food (Republic of South Africa, 1999).

Thoroughly clean food contact surfaces is critical to food safety and to prevent any form of contamination, a surface should be cleaned before any food comes into contact with it for the first time and, when necessary, during or immediately after the handling of food (Moore & Griffith, 2002; Republic of South Africa, 1999). Although incorrect cooking and storage of food is considered to be the main cause of foodborne infection, inadequate surface hygiene is a significant contributing factor, and the role of contaminated contaminated,
v 1. made radioactive by the addition of small quantities of radioactive material.
2. made contaminated by adding infective or radiographic materials.
3. an infective surface or object.
 surfaces in transmission of pathogens to food is well known in food processing Food processing is the set of methods and techniques used to transform raw ingredients into food for consumption by humans or animals. The food processing industry utilises these processes.  and catering (Cogan, Slader, Bloomfield, & Humphrey, 2002; Kusumaningrum, Riboldi, Hazelegger, & Beumer, 2002). By preventing food contamination, high standards of cleanness on food premises promote the maintenance of shelf-life as well as the protection of consumer health (Moore & Griffith, 2002). Therefore, it is stipulated in the health regulations that food premises must be equipped with a washing-up facility with hot and cold water for the effective cleaning of work areas (Republic of South Africa, 1999).

All the respondents wore plastic or material aprons, gloves, and hairnets. According to the health regulations (Republic of South Africa, 1999), no person shall be allowed to handle food without wearing suitable protective clothing. Such clothing should be 1) clean and neat before any food is handled, 2) in a clean condition at all times during the handling of food, 3) of such design and material that it would not contaminate the food, and 4) designed not to come into direct contact with any part of the food. Management is responsible for the cleaning and issuing of protective clothing and should ensure that it is not removed from the premises for cleaning or repair without authorization (South African Bureau of Standards, 2001). Although the use of gloves in the handling of food should be limited to cases in which workers' hands need to be protected against physical, chemical, or temperature harm, or where foodstuffs are to be protected from possible contamination by the worker (South African Bureau of Standards, 2001), it is stipulated in the health regulations that no food handler may touch ready-to-eat non pre-packed food with his or her bare hands unless doing so is unavoidable for preparation purposes (Republic of South Africa, 1999).

Education is just as important as legislation in approaching the reduction of foodborne disease outbreaks (Worsfold & Griffith, 1995). Training in food hygiene practices is, therefore, fundamentally important, and personnel should be aware of their role and responsibility in protecting food from contamination. All food handlers should be considered potential carriers of pathogenic microorganisms and should be adequately trained in good manufacturing practices Good Manufacturing Practice or GMP (also referred to as 'cGMP' or 'current Good Manufacturing Practice') is a term that is recognized worldwide for the control and management of manufacturing and quality control testing of foods and pharmaceutical products.  (GMP GMP (guanosine monophosphate): see guanine. ) to ensure that they have the knowledge and skills necessary for handling food (Codex Alimentarius, 1997). Management should be obligated ob·li·gate  
tr.v. ob·li·gat·ed, ob·li·gat·ing, ob·li·gates
1. To bind, compel, or constrain by a social, legal, or moral tie. See Synonyms at force.

2. To cause to be grateful or indebted; oblige.
 to arrange for all food handlers to receive adequate and continued training in the hygienic handling of food so that they know which precautions to take to preclude contamination of food (South African Bureau of Standards, 2001). Studies in the United Kingdom have shown that training increases the level of hygiene and that businesses with a higher percentage of trained staff had a lower risk of their products being hazardous to consumers (Powell, Atwell, & Massey, 1997). A study done by Tebbutt (1992) has furthermore confirmed that management's attitude is an important determinant in training standards. It was found that on premises where training programs had been implemented for staff working with high-risk foods, working practices and personal hygiene improved, while the risk of contamination decreased significantly. Emphasis should also be placed on continuous training, and it is incumbent on all food professionals to lead by example (Daniels, 1998). Consumer protection from foodborne illness is improved by the application of a systematic approach to the identification and evaluation of food safety hazards (the HACCP method) (Soriano, Rico, Molto mol·to  
adv. Music
Very; much. Used chiefly in directions.

[Italian, from Latin multum, from neuter of multus, many, much; see mel-2
, & Ma es, 2002). While formal training may ensure greater consistency and quality, however, improper training could present a higher risk to food safety than no training at all (Mortlock, Peters, & Griffith, 2000). Proper training of food handlers is one of the cornerstones of the HACCP program and should be part and parcel of an operation's basic employee training (Norton, 2002).


Results of the survey demonstrate room for improvement, especially with regard to the provision of proper cleaning facilities, personal practices when preparing food, and training. Although the majority of the food handlers indicated that they adhere to adhere to
verb 1. follow, keep, maintain, respect, observe, be true, fulfil, obey, heed, keep to, abide by, be loyal, mind, be constant, be faithful

 good personal and general hygiene practices, issues such as the wearing of jewelery, long fingernails, and wound dressings that are not moisture-proof, and the failure sometimes of management to take action when illnesses or injuries are reported, remain serious concerns. Cases in which illnesses were reported to management but in which no action was taken indicate a need for mandatory training for managers. It should also be the manager's task to foster employee commitment to personal and general hygiene. Managers should furthermore recognize the need for training within their own establishments and accordingly implement training for all levels of staff. In some outlets there is also a need for more adequate supervision. When supervision is not up to standard, it should be the task of the manager of the outlet to intervene and to ensure that staff conform to Verb 1. conform to - satisfy a condition or restriction; "Does this paper meet the requirements for the degree?"
fit, meet

coordinate - be co-ordinated; "These activities coordinate well"
 the requirements. The need for a formal cleaning schedule should be emphasized, and staff should be informed about their responsibilities and the importance of adhering to such a schedule. With the new regulations related to the application of the HACCP system, managers will increasingly be faced with new challenges if they are to comply with the above regulations. The continuous incidence of foodborne illnesses requires all food handlers and their managers to be acutely aware of their responsibilities to produce food that is not only high in quality, but also safe for consumption.

Acknowledgements: The authors wish to thank the National Research Foundation of South Africa The National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa is a government research foundation. It reports directly to the South African Minister of Science and Technology. Profile
The NRF was established in 1999 by the South African parliament through the NRF Act.
 for research funding Research funding is a term generally covering any funding for scientific research, in the areas of both "hard" science and technology and social science. The term often connotes funding obtained through a competitive process, in which potential research projects are evaluated and .

Corresponding Author: M.M. Theron, Central University of Technology, Free State, Unit for Applied Food Science and Biotechnology, Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences, Private Bag X20539, Bloemfontein 9300 South Africa. E-mail:


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A pathological condition spread among biological species. Infectious diseases, although varied in their effects, are always associated with viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, multicellular parasites and aberrant proteins known as prions.
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Scientific study of microorganisms, a diverse group of simple life-forms including protozoans, algae, molds, bacteria, and viruses.
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See also cheese; dining; milk.


Rare. the act or habit of reclining at meals.


Medicine. thescience of nutrition.


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Escartin, E.F. (1997). Identification and prevention of microbial microbial

pertaining to or emanating from a microbe.

microbial digestion
the breakdown of organic material, especially feedstuffs, by microbial organisms.
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  • People:
  • Edward Arnold (actor)
  • Eddy Arnold (country singer)
  • Other:
  • Edward Arnold (publisher) a publishing house.

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stainless steel

Any of a family of alloy steels usually containing 10–30% chromium. The presence of chromium, together with low carbon content, gives remarkable resistance to corrosion and heat.
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Although most of the information presented in the Journal refers to situations within the United States, environmental health and protection know no boundaries. The Journal periodically runs International Perspectives to ensure that issues relevant to our international constituency, representing over 60 countries worldwide, are addressed. Our goal is to raise diverse issues of interest to all our readers, irrespective of irrespective of
Without consideration of; regardless of.

irrespective of
preposition despite 

Izanne van Tonder, D.Tech.

Jan F.R. Lues, Ph.D.

Maria M. Theron, Ph.D.
TABLE 1 Handwashing Practices and Conditions Reported by Survey

Practice or Condition                                Frequency (n = 50)

Handwashing facility with only cold water or         36 (72%)
  with both cold and hot water, and with soap,
  air dryer/disposable hand-drying material

Frequency of Handwashing
  Immediately prior to the commencement of           50 (100%)
    each work shift
  At the beginning of the day's work or              50 (100%)
    after a rest period
  After every visit to a latrine or urinal           50 (100%)
  Every time the nose is blown or hair, nose,        49 (98%)
    or mouth is touched
  After handling money, a refuse container, or       50 (100%)
  After handling raw vegetables, fruit, eggs, meat,  48 (96%)
    or fish and before handling ready-to-use food
  After smoking or on return to the food premises    50 (100%)
  Under all the circumstances mentioned              47 (94%)

Means of Handwashing
  Cold water, soap, and a nailbrush                   8 (16%)
  Hot water, soap, and a nailbrush                   22 (44%)
  Hot and cold water and soap                        20 (40%)

Means of Hand Drying
  Disposable hand-drying material                    49 (98%)
  Apron/clothes                                       1 (2%)

TABLE 2 Food Preparation Practices Reported by Survey Respondents

Practice                                                   (n = 50)

Food Handling
  Work with long fingernails                                3 (6%)
  Wear dressings that are not moisture-proof                4 (8%)
  Wear jewelery                                             6 (12%)
  Wear jewelery and dressings that are not moisture-proof   2 (4%)
  Chew gum and wear dressings that are not moisture-proof   1 (2%)
  None of the above                                        34 (68%)

Frequency of Apron Replacement
  Never                                                     2 (4%)
  Once a day                                               16 (32%)
  Twice a day                                              18 (36%)
  Two to five times a day                                  12 (24%)
  More than five times a day                                2 (4%)

Frequency of Glove Replacement
  Two to five times a day                                   4 (8%)
  More than five times a day                               46 (92%)
  Discard after removal                                    50 (100%)

TABLE 3 Practices with Respect to Illness in the Workplace as Reported
by Survey Respondents

Practice                                                       Frequency

Reporting of Illness to Management (n = 50)
  Yes                                                          45 (90%)
  No                                                            5 (10%)

Action Taken by Management (n = 45)
  Medical examination and sick leave                           37 (82%)
  Only sick leave                                               3 (7%)
  Only medical examination                                      2 (4%)
  No action by management                                       3 (7%)

Action Taken When Injured (n = 50)
  Report to management and cover with moisture-proof dressing  47 (94%)
  Other                                                         3 (6%)

TABLE 4 Surface-Cleaning Practices Reported by Survey Respondents

Practice                                                      (n = 50)

  Daily after work is finished                                 1 (2%)
  Daily after work is finished; between shifts; and during     2 (4%)
    the handling of food, after, or both
  Daily before commencing work; daily after work; and during   1 (2%)
    the handling of food, immediately after, or both
  Clean surfaces under all circumstances                      46 (92%)

Means of Cleaning/Washing
  Cold water and detergent                                    11 (22%)
  Hot water and detergent                                     39 (78%)
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Author:van Tonder, Izanne; Lues, Jan F.R.; Theron, Maria M.
Publication:Journal of Environmental Health
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:6SOUT
Date:Nov 1, 2007
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