Improving the Safety of Urban Street Food

Street food has been defined as ready to eat food prepared and sold by vendors and hawkers especially in streets and other similar public places for immediate consumption or consumption at a later time without further processing or preparation (WHO, 1996). Street food has become more popular and fashionable especially in urban areas. Street food vending assures food security for low-income urban population and provides a livelihood for larger number of worker who would otherwise be unable to establish a business for big capital. Street food vending also offers business opportunities for developing entrepreneurs. In contrast to these potential benefits, it is also recognized that street food vendors are often poor and uneducated and lack appreciation for safe food handling. Related to the preparation and handling of street food, there is a high potential for health problems. Our study on street food in Malioboro, Yogyakarta indicated that 60% of the vendors graduated from elementary school. The vendors lack basic knowledge on safe food handling and processing. They had little understanding in personal hygienic practices and had moderate vending facilities. Microbial analysis on the street food drink (”˜es dawet’) and its ingredients indicated high number of aerobic plate count and coliform during display. Government intervention is required to ensure that the standard of safety for such foods is best attainable in the context of local situation. Hazzard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) which is a systematic identification of potential hazards and their control measures may provide guidance for urban street food safety. Implementation of HACCP model in our study could reduce the number of contamination in street food drink.

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