Food Safety-Related Perspectives and Practices of Consumers and Vendors in Ethiopia
A recently published article in Food Research International by Evidence and Action Towards Safe Nutritious Food (EatSafe) reviewed studies that assessed consumer and vendor practices, knowledge and attitudes related to food safety in Ethiopia. The review identified 116 studies, of which 102 were assessed. In the review, 53 studies examined knowledge and 19 that assessed attitudes. A majority of studies (n=94) focused on vendors or food handlers, 15 articles examined both consumers and vendors, but only four assessed interactions between the groups. Meat, dairy products and ready-to-eat (i.e., street) foods were the most studied food groups.
Findings from the review indicate both groups used physical attributes and “coping” strategies to assess and address concerns related to quality and safety of food. A gap in vendors’ observed practices versus knowledge and attitudes was noted. Analysis of food and the food handling environment revealed a high level of contamination. While the review found training to be effective in influencing knowledge, attitudes and practices, future research should address consumers and consumer-vendor interactions and include the full triad of knowledge-attitudes-practices. To improve food safety in Ethiopia, focus should be given to studying nutrient-rich foods, especially in traditional markets. Read the full article in Food Research International.