Bacteriological quality of drinking water at point of use and hand hygiene of primary food preparers: implications for household food safety

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Quality of water for consumption and food processing activities is universally accepted as an essential component to ensure food safety at household (HH) level. Along with safe water, hand hygiene is also an important factor for reducing diarrheal illnesses. This was a cross-sectional study conducted in rural and urban HHs to detect hygiene indicators in drinking water samples at point of use (PoU) (n = 150) and their association with the hand hygiene of primary food preparers (n = 150). Overall, 24.7% and 9.3% of drinking water samples (PoU), 48% and 20% of hand rinse samples were contaminated by faecal coliforms and E. coli, respectively. Both drinking water (PoU) and hand rinse samples collected from rural HHs showed higher contamination, followed by those from urban slums and low income HHs. Significant association (p < 0.05) and probable risk with faecal coliforms (OR. 2.5; 95% CI: 1.1–5.4) and E. coli (OR. 14.5; 95% CI: 4.1–50.7) was found between hand rinses and drinking water samples that had bacteriological contamination. These results suggest that there was an extensive cross contamination at HH level. So, targeted education is essential on safe food/water handling practices in HHs to prevent food safety risks.

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