Observance of public health best practices at point of sales by meat pie retailers in Makurdi, Benue State was evaluated by studying three (3) retail sources namely eateries, supermarkets and street hawkers. Observations were carried out ninety (90) times between March to July 2013. The neatness of the vendor, sales environment, and state of the product storage containers were assessed. Microbiological analysis revealed the presence of Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus spp, Enterobacter spp, Proteus spp, Pseudomonas spp, Citrobacter spp, Edwardsiella spp, Bacillus spp, Klebsiella spp and Shigella spp. There was a positive relationship between multiple bacterial contamination and the constituents of the meat pie fillings. A total of 64 (35.6%) fillings had between 3 – 7 bacterial contaminants, 57 (31.7%) had at least 2 bacterial contaminants, 58 (32.2%) had at least 1 contaminant while only 1 (0.6%) was without any bacterial contaminant. Only 5(5.6 %) of the vendors and 10(11.1%) of the sales environment were very neat, while 23(25.6%) and 22(24.4%) of the storage containers were observed to be partially accessible to air/dust and insects respectively. None of the vendors (90:100%) used hand gloves, none (90:100%) used an apron, 89 (98.9%) used no cutlery and 89 (98%) had uncovered hair while serving the product. The paper submits that the health of consumers is endangered by this negligence. Hence, the need for regulatory authorities to create awareness on, as well as enforce the observance of established point of sales practices for the sake of the public health.
Keywords: Public, health, meat pie, fillings, negligence, contamination.
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