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The Role Of Street Food Vendors In Promoting The Public Health Of Developing Nations Basilla Masanja MPH Student Walden University. PUBH-6165-5 Environmental Health Instructor: Dr. Rebecca Heick Summer, 2009. The Role Of Street Food Vendors In Promoting The Public Health Of Developing Nations.

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The Role Of Street Food Vendors In Promoting The Public Health Of Developing NationsBasilla Masanja MPH StudentWalden University

PUBH-6165-5 Environmental Health

Instructor: Dr. Rebecca Heick

Summer, 2009

the role of street food vendors in promoting the public health of developing nations

The Role Of Street Food Vendors In Promoting The Public Health Of Developing Nations

Street food vending is an essential part of food delivery in developing nations.

food vendors
Food Vendors
  • The importance of proper food handling by these street food vendors cannot be over-emphasized.
food vendors1
Food Vendors
  • The street food industry plays an important role in developing countries in meeting the food demands of the urban dwellers.
  • Street foods feed millions of people daily with a wide variety of foods that are relatively cheap and easily accessible.
  • The street food industry offers a significant amount of employment, often to persons with little education and training. (Latham, 1997)

In most developing nations, street vendors can be found in cities selling cooked food, fresh produce, cold drinks and many other products. Most of these street vendors are poor people trying to make a living as well as take care of their families.

food vendors2
Food Vendors
  • In developing nations, most countries have poor economies.
  • Most citizens in these countries cannot afford to buy food in super markets or places like that, so they are being forced to depend on goods sold by street vendors which are more affordable than that sold in supermarkets.
  • Street vendors effectively distribute foods in these poor nations.
  • The downside is that most street food vendors do not use proper food handling techniques.
food vendors3
Food Vendors
  • According to the study done on street vendors in Kenya in 2005 it was observed that about 85% of the vendors interviewed prepared their foods in unhygienic conditions given that garbage and dirty waste were conspicuously close to the stalls.
  • Of the vendors interviewed, 92.5% did not have garbage receptacles; hence they disposed their garbage just near the stalls.
  • Ninety-two percent of the vendors threw waste water just beside the stalls making the environment surrounding the eateries quite filthy (AJFAND, 2005).
water problems
Water Problems
  • It was also observed in the same study that vendors did not wash fresh foods properly.
  • Vendors who sold fish and chips washed their raw foodstuff only once because they did not have enough water.
  • Vendors selling fruit salads prepared the fruit salads without washing them; they did not have any water to wash their fruits.
  • Improper food handling can lead to a number of life threatening diseases including cholera.
  • Cholera is an acute diarrheal disease caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholera.
  • Cholera is spread by drinking contaminated water and by eating raw or undercooked food.
  • Vibrio cholera secretes toxins that inflame the large intestine and prevent it from reabsorbing water hence diarrhea and dehydration.
  • If a bacterium gets into food, water and drinking supplies other people will be infected.
proper food handling saves lives
Proper Food Handling Saves Lives
  • A report from FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization, 1997) states that in Africa
  • “a lack of knowledge among street food vendors about the causes of food-borne disease is a major risk factor. Poor hygiene, inadequate access to potable water supply and garbage disposal, and unsanitary environmental conditions (such as proximity to sewers and garbage dumps) further exacerbate the public health risks associated with street foods. Improper use of additives (often unauthorized colouring agents), mycotoxins, heavy metals and other contaminants (such as pesticide residues) are additional hazards in street foods”.
the statistics
The Statistics
  • Cholera cases and deaths were officially reported by WHO, in the year 2000, from 27 countries in Africa, 9 countries in Latin America, 13 countries in Asia, 2 countries in Europe, and 4 countries in Oceania.
  • In the same year some 140,000 cases resulting in approximately 5000 deaths were officially notified at WHO.
  • Africa accounted for 87% of these cases.
what a street food vendor must do
What A Street Food Vendor Must Do
  • Use the cleanest source of water available
  • Where water is not clean, boiling water before using to wash food kills the bacteria. Wash hands with boiled water
protect your customers
Protect your customers
  • Cover the food from flies and other disease bearing contacts.
  • Using inexpensive plastic sheets and containers is an effective way to keep flies and other contaminants from food.
  • There are many stakeholders involved in ensuring the safety and quality of foods moving in both national and international trade.
  • Responsibilities are shared by national governments, farmers, food processors and manufacturers, food retailers, street vendors and consumers.
  • For us to be successful in combating this deadly disease a team effort is required between all stake holders to bring up a positive change to street vendors in Africa and the world as whole.
  • African Journal of Food Agriculture and Nutritional Development (AJFAND): Volume 5 No 1 2005
  • Cholera Basic Facts (WHO, 2006) retrieved 07/01/2009 from
  • Latham MC Human nutrition in tropical Africa. FAO, Rome. 1997: 329-437.
  • Food and Agricultural Organization of United Nations