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Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Print version ISSN 0042-9686


EHIRI, John E. et al. Critical control points of complementary food preparation and handling in eastern Nigeria. Bull World Health Organ [online]. 2001, vol.79, n.5, pp.423-433. ISSN 0042-9686.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate microbial contamination and critical control points (CCPs) in the preparation and handling of complementary foods in 120 households in Imo state, Nigeria. METHODS: The Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) approach was used to investigate processes and procedures that contributed to microbial contamination, growth and survival, and to identify points where controls could be applied to prevent or eliminate these microbiological hazards or reduce them to acceptable levels. Food samples were collected and tested microbiologically at different stages of preparation and handling. FINDINGS: During cooking, all foods attained temperatures capable of destroying vegetative forms of food-borne pathogens. However, the risk of contamination increased by storage of food at ambient temperature, by using insufficiently high temperatures to reheat the food, and by adding contaminated ingredients such as dried ground crayfish and soybean powder at stages where no further heat treatment was applied. The purchasing of contaminated raw foodstuffs and ingredients, particularly raw akamu, from vendors in open markets is also a CCP. CONCLUSION: Although an unsafe environment poses many hazards for children’s food, the hygienic quality of prepared food can be assured if basic food safety principles are observed. When many factors contribute to food contamination, identification of CCPs becomes particularly important and can facilitate appropriate targeting of resources and prevention efforts.

Keywords : Diarrhea, Infantile [etiology]; Infant food [microbiology]; Food contamination [analysis]; Water microbiology; Food handling; Food hygiene; Risk assessment; Task performance and analysis; Nigeria.

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