Evaluation of meat safety knowledge, attitudes and practices among slaughter house workers of Amathole District in eastern Cape Province, South Africa
AbstractGood slaughter hygiene practices are mandatory to minimize chances of microbiological contamination during meat processing. Thus, knowledge and training in meat safety are important to improve the attitudes of workers who are reported to frequently engage in poor handling practices. The objective of the study was to assess the level of knowledge, attitudes towards meat safety and personal hygiene of slaughter personnel from low throughput (LTA’s) and high throughput abattoirs (HTA’s). Data were collected using structured questionnaires with questions on some important meat safety cues. About 40% of abattoir employees attained secondary education and this was significantly greater than those with no education (25%), primary (26.7%) and tertiary (8.3%) (P<0.05). A significantly greater proportion of respondents (55%) had more than 5 years of experience compared to those with ≤5 years (P<0.05). Overall, a greater proportion of respondents had valid health certificates (62.5%), though a significant proportion (35%) were from the HTA’s. More medical examination defaulters (7.5%) were from LTA’s compared to HTAs (2.5%) (P<0.05). The majority (47.5%) of respondents were treated for illnesses in clinics or hospitals, whereas some self-medicated (22.5%), visited traditional healers (22.5%) and 7.5% went to pharmacies. Secondary and tertiary educated respondents who received professional training showed a significantly greater willingness to disinfect work clothes, contact surfaces and wear gloves (P<0.05). A significant proportion of respondents (70%) who received professional training showed greater willingness to report illness than untrained (P<0.05). In spite of results showing basic hygiene compliance, aspects such as medical examination and professional training still need improvement.
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