HYGIENE PRACTICES AMONG HOSPITAL FOOD HANDLERS: A COMPARATIVE STUDY AT D. Y. PATIL MEDICAL COLLEGE, KOLHAPUR

Main Article Content

Dr. Yogesh Balaso Patil
Dr. Dadasaheb Hanumantrao Dhage

Keywords

Food handlers, Personal hygiene, Food safety, Hospital settings

Abstract

Background: Food handlers in hospital settings play a crucial role in maintaining food safety and preventing foodborne illnesses. This study aimed to assess the personal hygiene practices of food handlers at D. Y. Patil Medical College, Kolhapur, to identify adherence levels to hygiene standards and areas for potential improvement.
 
Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted using a stratified random sampling method to ensure representation from various job categories of food handlers. A structured, self-administered questionnaire was employed to gather data on demographic information, food handling practices, knowledge about foodborne illnesses, personal hygiene habits, and attitudes toward food safety. The questionnaire was validated through a pilot study. Data were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics, including chi-square tests to explore associations between demographic variables and hygiene practices.
 
Results: The study found high compliance rates for key hygiene practices, such as hand washing after defecation (86%) and regular bathing (93%). However, only 53% of food handlers used protective gear consistently. No significant associations were found between hygiene practices and demographic variables such as age, gender, education level, and marital status. Hygiene training, although not statistically significant, was associated with better hygiene practices.
 
Conclusion: While the overall personal hygiene practices among food handlers were commendable, areas such as the use of protective gear and enforcement of non-tobacco use policies need improvement. Continuous training programs and regular monitoring are recommended to enhance food safety practices. Limitations of the study include reliance on self-reported data and the cross-sectional design, which restricts causality inferences.
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