INFLUENCE OF SOME SELECTED PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS AND INFORMATION SOURCES ON FOOD SAFETY PRACTICES OF LOCUST BEAN PROCESSORS IN RURAL COMMUNITIES OF OYO STATE, NIGERIA
Olasunbo Kafilat Jubreel, Damilola Toluse Adeomi, Dorcas Tolulope Fadoju
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As a developing nation, Nigeria struggles with significant challenges related to fostering a strong food safety culture. Shockingly, Nigeria witnesses a staggering annual toll of over 200,000 deaths attributed to foodborne illnesses. Moreover, many rural and suburban areas in the country are severely underserved when it comes to basic facilities and essential awareness or education regarding the critical importance of cultivating a strong food safety culture. The study investigated the influence of selected socioeconomic characteristics and information sources on food safety practices of locust bean processors in selected rural communities of Oyo State, Nigeria. A multistage sampling method was utilized to choose respondents from three LGAs in Oyo State. A random selection of communities known for locust bean processing within each LGA and a total selection of 158 processors was carried out. Data were collected using interview schedule. The result revealed that the mean age of processors was 44 years. The mean years of processing experience were about 17years. The findings revealed a significant relationship between the level of education (p =0.037), frequency of processing (p=0.001), membership of social group (p=0.007), years of processing experience (p=0.002)and food safety practices. Radio (p= 0.011), sanitary officer (p= 0.001), family (p= 0.004), market groups (p= 0.001), and cooperative society (p=0.001) had significant relation with food safety practice respectively. The findings show that personal characteristics like years of processing, education level, and frequency of processing had impacted the unsafe practices of the processors. Likewise, information sources such as family, market groups and cooperative groups were found to influence food safety practices. The findings of the study can therefore be used to provide intervention in training education and provision of up to up to date information, leading to improved food safety practices among Locust bean processors.