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8 September 2010 : INFOSAN note: Basic steps to improve safety of street-vended food

INFOSAN Information Note No. 3/2010: Basic steps to improve safety of street-vended food

“Street vended foods” or “street foods” are an important source of accessible, ready-to-eat, nutritious, low-cost meals for the urban people.


However, concerned contamination of these foods caused by chemical and microbiological pathogens is believed to be a significant contributor to foodborne diseases.


The major associated risk factors of the contamination include environmental sanitation, inadequate infrastructure and improper food handling.


Considering the greater awareness of vendors of the basic principles and measures needed to ensure food safety as one of the most cost effective options for reducing health risks posed by street foods.


“WHO Five Keys to Safer Food” has been elaborated and recommended to be used as the worldwide basis for training of street vendors.


Basic steps to improve safety of street-vended food include:

§Keep clean

- Wash your hands before handling food and often during food preparation

- Wash your hands after going to the toilet

- Wash and sanitize all surfaces and equipment used for food preparation

- Protect kitchen areas and food from insects, pests and other animals


§Separate raw and cooked

- Separate raw meat, poultry and seafood from other foods

- Use separate equipment and utensils such as knives and cut ting boards for handling raw foods

- Store food in container s to avoid contact between raw and prepared foods

§Cook thoroughly

- Cook food thoroughly, especially meat, poultry, eggs and seafood

- Bring soups and stews to boiling to make sure that they have reached 70°C

- For meat and poultry, make sure that juices are clear, not pink. Ideally, use a thermometer

- Reheat cooked food thoroughly

§ Keep food at safe temperatures

- Do not leave cooked food at room temperature for more than 2 hours

- Refrigerate promptly all cooked and perishable food (preferably below 5°C)

- Keep cooked food piping hot (more than 60°C) prior to serving

- Do not store food too long even in the refrigerator

- Do not thaw frozen food at room temperature

§Use safe water and raw materials

- Use safe water or treat it to make it safe

- Select fresh and wholesome foods

- Choose foods processed for safety, such as pasteurized milk

- Wash fruits and vegetables, especially if eaten raw

- Do not use food beyond its expiry date


For further information on “Train the trainer course”, a poster of the mentioned Five Keys as well as training resource package: