The safety of street food is an important aspect in the field of nutrition security. A cross sectional study was conducted among street food vendors around the medical colleges of Kolkata selected by simple random sampling. Data were collected by interviewing the selected food vendors with the predesigned schedule and observation. Microbiological analyses of food samples selected randomly from seventy five vendors were carried out. Food vendors unwilling or abstaining from the interview could not be selected in this current study. None of the food vendors used head cap or apron or hand gloves during preparation or selling of foods. Only 25.33% of food vendors covered the foods after preparation. Most of the vendors were cleaning their serving utensils in stagnant water of bucket. The continuous re-use of same stagnant water for washing non-disposable utensils led to deposition of food materials on them and this increased the chance of chemical and microbial contamination as well as enhanced the food borne intoxication. Half of the food samples were contaminated with the organisms causing Food Borne Diseases. Significant relationship was found between various hygienic practices and presence of probable food borne pathogenic bacteria. Approximately 81% of the food vendors did not have clean nails and nor did they use gloves for food service resulting in increased chances of microbial contamination in the foods. Also, the amount of food vendors using the leftover food of previous day was 44% meaning a significant decrease in food quality due to mixing of leftover foods. So, the hygienic practices of the food vendors around the medical colleges of Kolkata were very poor and foods served were contaminated.
Street Foods, Street Food Vendors, Food Safety, Hygienic Practices, Food Borne Diseases
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