Lack of hygiene and sanitation, poor maintenance and inappropriate disposal of solid waste are common in the eating establishments, including canteens and hospital kitchens, at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, finds an internal study of the institute.
The study that was conducted by the community medicine department of the PGIMER was released by the institute on Sunday.
The study evaluated all the eating establishments and all 264 food handlers working at the PGIMER. The study found that the reasons for poor score of eating establishments were poor personal hygiene and lack of training of food handlers. Food safety practices of food handlers to prevent microbial cross contamination are dismal. Lack of hygiene and sanitation, poor maintenance and inappropriate disposal of solid waste in the eating establishments contributed to lack of food safety.
Food handlers' training in hygiene never conducted
When the study was being conducted it was also found that none of the eating establishments ever conducted training of food handlers in hygiene and safety (though later PGIMER conducted some workshops for food handlers).
A majority (61.7%) of food handlers were educated less than Class 10. Nearly 60% of the food handlers had up to five years of experience. Most of the food handlers (90%) had not received any training on food safety. The study also found that a majority (68.9%) had a fair baseline knowledge about food safety issues.
The study observed that 87.1% of the food handlers were following incorrect food safety practices. The study also found that 98.4% of the food handlers washed hands before work. However, only 60.6% of subjects did so with soap.The study also found that the health status of the food workers in all the eating establishments at the PGIMER was good.
Food handlers were not maintaining a satisfactory personal hygiene. The findings highlight the importance of food hygiene education among food handlers and about the need to inculcate the practices of good personal hygiene in them. Food Business Operators (FBOs) were not aware of the new law on food safety and hygiene.
FBOs were concerned about providing quality food and earning profit, but they lacked knowledge about scientific principles and methods of food hygiene. Hospital authorities had a system in place to keep a check on FBOs, but unfortunately it was not effective.
53.8% clients rated eating establishments inside PGIMER as good
12.5% rated them as very good
Only 5 (3.1%) gave a poor rating.
61.7% food handlers are not even Class 10 passouts
60% food handlers have up to 5 years of experience
90% have not received any training on food safety
68.9% have fair baseline knowledge about food safety issues
87.1% food handlers following incorrect food safety practices
98.4% wash hands before work. Only 60.6% was it with soap.