Volume 101, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Poor hand hygiene and food handling put consumers of restaurant and street food at risk of enteric disease, especially in low-income countries. This study aimed to collect hygiene indicators from a nationally representative sample of restaurants and street food vendors. The field team collected data from 50 rural villages and 50 urban administrative units (). We explored restaurant service staff, cook, and food vendor hygiene practices ( = 300 restaurants and 600 street food vendors), by observing hygiene facilities, food handling, and utensil cleaning. A qualitative assessment explored perceptions of hygiene related to food handling. During restaurant spot checks, 91% (273/300) had soap and water at handwashing location for customers but in only 33% (100) at locations convenient for restaurant staff. Among street food–vending stalls, 11% (68/600) had soap and water when observed. During 90-minute structured observations, cooks used soap to wash hands on 14/514 (3%) of occasions before food preparation, 6/82 (8%) occasions after cutting fish/meat/vegetables, 3/71 (4%) occasions before serving food, and 0/49 (0%) occasions) before hand-mashing food/salad preparation; no street food vendors washed hands with soap during these food-handling events. Most of the qualitative study participants perceived that customers select a vendor based on tastiness of the food, whereas no one mentioned the importance of food hygiene. The study demonstrates widespread poor hygiene and food-handling practices in restaurants and among food vendors. Based on our study findings, we proposed a food premises Hygiene Investigation Model to create action plans to improve food safety.


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Supplemental appendix

  • Received : 11 Nov 2018
  • Accepted : 15 Jun 2019
  • Published online : 22 Jul 2019
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