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What We Eat in Streets Sadly Don't Stay at Streets; Unhygienic Street Food Consumption Damages Our Health Right to Its Core
In most parts of the world, street foods are an important source of ready-to-eat nutrition. In lower income countries it provides low cost meal for the urban poor population as well.
By Dr. Khan Redzwan Habib
Jul. 18, 2016

In most parts of the world, street foods are an important source of ready-to-eat nutrition. In lower income countries it provides low cost meal for the urban poor population as well.

In most parts of the world, street foods are an important source of ready-to-eat nutrition. In lower income countries it provides low cost meal for the urban poor population as well. Poor knowledge about safe food handling practices along with lack of basic infrastructure to ensure food hygiene is considered as a major public health concern particularly in the developing countries.

Dr. Khan Redzwan Habib, one of the pioneers of making street food safer in Bangladesh, in his recent study has explored the challenges faced by the street food vendors to ensure food hygiene while vending in streets of Dhaka city, the capital of Bangladesh.

“By taking the advantage of poor supervision and regulation street food are prepared and sold in an unhygienic manner in many parts of the world like Dhaka city, which is a major contributor to food and waterborne diseases in these countries.” Dr. Khan said.

The study has revealed that street food vendors neither have training nor have proper knowledge about maintaining food hygiene. They do not know how to prepare, preserve and serve food maintain food hygiene. These vendors use supply water for drinking, cooking and cleaning purposes, which has proven to be contaminated with microorganisms. Street food vendors also never wash hands with soap after using toile while vending in the streets, neither they wash hands after money handling. These vendors also do not use one-time plates of spoons for serving food. Alarmingly they rather often use untidy newspaper pieces or tissue papers for serving food. Even if sometimes they use reusable plastic plates, they clean them repeatedly with same unclean water.

Dr. Khan goes on to suggest that, that proper training about safe food handling and proper financial and infrastructural support for the vendors like loans for starting a business, fixing a site with availability of purified water, proper toilet facility and proper garbage disposal will be helpful to overcome the challenges faced by the street food vendors and they will be able to deliver safer food for the inhabitants of the city.

Author: Dr. Khan Redzwan Habib, Coordinator- Immunisation and Vaccine Development, World Health Organisation, Bangladesh.
A paper regarding this study has recently been published in Journal of Food and Nutrition Sciences.

Photo Reference: Luisa Villavicencio, 2014, Pinterest https://au.pinterest.com/pin/570198002794182192/

Paper link:
http://article.sciencepublishinggroup.com/html/10.11648.j.jfns.20160404.11.html

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