Sanitary conditions of food establishments in Mekelle town, Tigray, north Ethiopia



Abstract Background: Foodborne diseases are commonly found in developing countries like Ethiopia because of the prevailing poor food handling and sanitation practices. Food prepared in large quantities is liable to contamination and to the rise of foodborne diseases if the strictest principles of hygiene are not maintained. Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the sanitary conditions of food establishments in Mekelle town, Tigray region, North Ethiopia. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted from November 2004 to January 2005. Four hundred and twenty establishments were enrolled through a simple random selection technique after a list of all food establishments was obtained through a census. Trained enumerators used standard and structured pre-tested questionnaires to collect data. Bacteriological tests were conducted on food utensils using standard laboratory procedures. Data entry, cleaning, and analysis were performed using Epi Info Version 6.04d. Results: This study found that latrines, hand washing basins, proper types of solid waste receptacles, and privately owned tap water were available in 96.9%, 57.1%, 39.2% and 93.6% of the food establishments, respectively. Proper dish washing and food storage practices were observed in 46%, and 52% of the establishments, respectively. Poor practices in personal hygiene among food handlers were commonly observed. Of all bacteriologically tested food utensils, 44.3% were found with aerobic mesophilic bacteria above the accepted level (> 100 colonies per plate) and 45.5% were grossly contaminated (>50 fecal coliform per 100ml). Staphylococcus aurous and Escherichia coli were also isolated. Conclusion and Recommendation: Overall findings of this study indicate the high likelihood of food contamination in food establishments in Mekelle. The study recommends that regulatory activities should be strengthened to ensure basic food sanitation practices in public food vending establishments in this town. [Ethiop.J.Health Dev. 2007;21(1):3-11]



How to Cite

Zeru, K., & Kumie, A. (2016). Sanitary conditions of food establishments in Mekelle town, Tigray, north Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Journal of Health Development, 21(1). Retrieved from

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