- Background of the Study
Street foods are described as ready-to-eat foods and beverages prepared and sold by vendors or hawkers especially in streets and other similar public places (FAO, 2007). According to the FAO, street foods contribute significantly to the diets of many people in the developing world (FAO, 2007). In addition to offering business opportunities for developing entrepreneurs, the sale of street foods can make a sizeable contribution to the economies of developing countries. Moreover, street foods play an important role in developing societies as they support the livelihoods of millions of the urban poor. Traditional and exotic local street foods have emerged as new tourist attractions in developing countries. The popularity of street food vending is spreading rapidly all
over the world due to several reasons viz., economic and industrial developments followed by tremendous increase in urban population at an average annual growth rate of 4.2%, which is likely to continue in the years to come.
Besides an increase in the number of working women over the last decades, from 76.2 to 105.7 million, employments far away from the home, modern life style compels both men and women to go to work and giving less time to cook at home. Nevertheless, tremendous growth of small nuclear families has resulted in the rapid proliferation of street foods as these acts as convenient source of food. The street foods being quickly served, tasty and available at reasonable rates and offering a variety of traditional foods have become an attraction to many customers. The street foods provide considerable amounts of valuable nutrients, depending on the raw ingredients used. Purchase of such ready-to-eat foods often pre-occupied with food price and convenience rather than with food safety, quality and hygiene. Persons who vend the street foods are often free from taxes, thus selling what they want and few existing regulations on the subject are not usually enforced. The street foods with substantial amounts of nutrient contribution are also likely to deteriorate in their quality.
However, street foods have in recent years become one of the most common risks associated with the increase in outbreaks of food-borne diseases in developing countries. There have been several documented cases of food poisoning outbreaks due to street foods. Street foods were responsible for 691 food poisoning outbreaks and 49 deaths from 1983 to 1992 in Shangdong Province (China) (Lianghui, 1993). In 1988, 14 deaths were reported in Malaysia because of food-borne diseases related to street foods. In the same year 300 people became ill in Hong Kong after consumption of street vended foods. In 1981 a cholera epidemic in Pune, India was linked to consumption of street vended juice, whilst an outbreak of cholera in Singapore in 1987 was attributed to the consumption of street foods (FAO, 2007).Street foods are often seen as possessing nutritional components associated with an unhealthy diet and potentially holding a higher risk of contamination by physical, chemical and biological agents, i.e., become a serious concern in terms of food safety.
Street foods can cause the emergence of food borne diseases, due to the ease of contamination by pathogenic and non-pathogenic microorganisms, and the development of chronic non-communicable diseases, since the street foods usually have high quantities of carbohydrates and fats. In summary, the consumption of street foods contributes towards a given population meeting their nutritional needs. However, due to the lack of facilities and good supervision by health authorities in street mobile vending of foods, cheaper raw materials, as well as insufficient knowledge of good manufacturing practices linked to street vendors, street foods may cause food borne diseases and chronic non-communicable diseases.
Street foods are quite common in urban areas. The popularity of street food vending is spreading rapidly all over the world due to the tremendous increase in urban population. As a result of this, it is necessary to analyze the mineral composition as well as the level of safety of street vended foods.
1.3AIMS AND OBJECTIVE
To analyze the mineral composition as well as the level of microbial contamination of street foods as consumed.
- To study the mineral status of street vended foods
- To evaluate the microbial contents of street food
- Observation of the handling practices of street food vendors in order to assess if the
methods of food preparation, storage and presentation meet the required food safety