Objective : The objectives of the study refer to the prevalent conditions of storage of fresh fruits and vegetables at Agricultural produce market, to study personnel hygiene and health conditions of produce handlers and to study the prevalent sanitary conditions at the market.
Background : Food safety refers to the conditions and practices to prevent contamination and food-borne illnesses. Food contamination can occur during any level between productions to consumption. Different food products may have different microorganisms which multiply and cause disease if food is not appropriately handled. The effect of food-borne illness is widespread, impacting the public globally. This study focuses on personnel health and hygiene practices and prevalent sanitary conditions at Agricultural produce market for fresh fruits and vegetables and its role in causing foodborne illness.
Methodology : This is a descriptive, cross-sectional type study. To meet the study objectives, research methodology based on both quantitative and qualitative research techniques were used. The two wholesale markets for fresh fruits and vegetables in Jaipur city was selected for this study. Non Probability convenient sampling was done for the sample selection. Based on the nature of study and availability of the workers, self administered questionnaire of total 50 samples were collected and to assess health workers and their hygiene practices. Checklists were used for carrying out observations in the field.
Findings : Findings were suggestive of non compliance of food safety norms in food handlers. None of the worker was ever examined for medical fitness before commencement of job. 34% had open wounds and 18% suffered from loose motions; both these conditions being highly susceptible for transmission of infection to the produce. Observations made were indicative of non utilization of packing house and cold storage services for perishable items. Wholesale shops cum godowns store produce without following food safety norms which is leading to spoiling and subsequent cross infections. Waste disposal was inefficient, leading to exposure of fresh produce to stray animals and biosolids.
Recommendations : Workers may become a safety risk for fresh fruits and vegetables if they have inadequate personal cleanliness. They suffer from or carry diseases or have an inadequate personal behavior it will affect their family members as well as the purchasers. Training programs and other measures to avoid contact between produce and personnel representing a safety risk must be enforced. Strategies to improve personal cleanliness (protective clothing, hand washing) and practices promoting adequate behavior at work forbidding eating, smoking or spitting should also be adopted to safeguard the produce against any contamination
The study refer to the prevalent conditions of storage of fresh fruits and vegetables at Agricultural produce market