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A research proposal to be presented to the
Faculty of Health Science, University of Johannesburg,

As fulfillment for the National. Diploma in

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Environmental Health by,
Nongwe Lihle
(student no: 216069515)
LECTURER ——————————— DATE ———————————
(Mr T Mbonane)

The The University of Johannesburg is one of the South African university, it comprises of four campuses namely: Aukland Park Kingsway Campus (APK), Aukland Park Buntin (APB), Soweto campus (SWC) and Doornfontein campus (DFC). The University of Johannesburg has approximately 50 000 students including international students, part-timers, and full-time students. The present study focuses mainly in Doornfontein campus which has eight cafeterias which sell ready-to-eat food to both students and staff. The proposed cross-sectional study aims to assess the level of microorganisms that are found in ready-to-eat food sold at the Student center. The study will assess the workers using formulated questionnaire, checklist and hygiena ensure and taking food samples for analysis. The study target people whose job description is food handling only. Data collection will follow stratified convenient sampling amongst food handlers. Data will be analyzed using the latest version of STATA. Ethical clearance will be obtained from the department of environmental health which will enhance the commencement of the study. The findings of the current study will be in an article form and will be published in an accredited journal. The findings will be used as the guideline to develop standard operating procedures, policies and awareness campaigns in the institutions.

2.1 introduction
Microbiological quality of food shows the quantity of microorganisms contained by that food product, increased number of microorganisms shows the low quality of food storage and it transmits disease (Oranusi et al., 2013). Bacterial count in prepared food and water is a key factor in assessing the quality and safety of food. It also reveals the level of hygiene adopted by food handlers in the course of preparation of such foods. Food and water, in particular, have been described as the vehicle for the transmission of microbial disease among which are those caused by coliforms (Nkere et al., 2011).

ready-to-eat (RTE) foods can be described as foods and beverages that are already cooked and ready to be consumed at the point of sale, RTE foods do not require further processing, they could be raw or cooked, hot or chilled and can be consumed without further treatment (Tsang, 2002). Demand for RTE foods has led to an increase in the amount and selection of different products of consumers (Almualla et al., 2010), Examples of such ready-to-eat foods among others include meat pie, burger, coleslaw, fried chicken, milk and milk products, Porridge, rice, and fried potatoes etc. RTE-salads and RTE-sprouts constitute an essential and convenient meal for today’s lifestyle because they do not require further preparation or cooking. As well as being considered as low-calorie food, they are rich in minerals, vitamins and other nutrients that are needed by the body of the human being (Falomir et al, 2010). While it is normal that the dietary needs of the consumers ought to be met through the utilization of ready to eat foods, it is likewise important to guarantee its security from noticeable contaminants and microorganisms (Bukar et al., 2010)
2.2 Possible causes of ready to eat food (vegetable and fruits) contamination by microorganisms and associated infection.
Contamination of food by enteric pathogens can occur from the farm if human sewage is used to fertilize the soils or if sewage water is used to irrigate the crops. Such risks are further increased if the food is mishandled during processing and preparations where pathogens could multiply exponentially under favorable conditions (Ghosh et al., 2007). During harvest, the superficial microbiota of vegetables comprises mainly Gram-negative saprophytes, but pathogenic microorganisms can also be found. Vegetables may harbor pathogenic Escherichia coli and Salmonella spp. e enteric bacteria involved in large foodborne outbreaks worldwide, causing symptoms of gastroenteritis, and even chronic infections (D’Aoust, 2007; Francis et al., 1999). Listeria monocytogenes can also contaminate RTE vegetables and it is a psychrotolerant and ubiquitous microorganism that causes listeriosis, an atypical infection with low mortality but high fatality rates among the elderly, pregnant women and immunocompromised individuals (Abadias et al., 2008; FDA, 2003).
Most of the foods are not well protected from flies, which may carry foodborne pathogens. Safe food storage temperatures are rarely applied to street foods. Potential health risks are associated with contamination of food by E. coli, Salmonella typhi, Pseudomonas sp., Staphylococcus aureus or Proteus sp during preparation, post cooking and other handling stages (Hanoshiro, et al., 2004)
2.3 prevention of the occurrence of microorganisms during the preparation of ready-to-eat foodstuff

Measures need to be taken to ensure that ready to eat food are produced and stored hygienically at appropriate temperatures and well protected from flies, dust, wind, and all sources of contamination. Utensils should be washed using detergents and clean hot water. Health education should be provided to the food handlers and implementation of hygienic protocols enforced more vigorously (Tambakar et al, 2007)
Safe foods are the basic human right despite many foods are frequently contaminated with naturally occurring pathogenic microorganisms. Such pathogenic microorganism cannot be tasted, smelted or seen but can cause disease, including death especially if they are conserved during exposition for sales provides conditions for those microorganisms to grow and reach the normal level of contamination (WHO, 2016). The increase in the consumption of ready-to-eat food due to change in social patterns, which is characterized by the high levels of mobility, large numbers of itinerary workers and less family-centered activities. Thus, good manufacturing practices of foods taken outside the home such as good sanitation or sanitary measure and proper food handling have been transferred from individuals/families to the food vendor who rarely enforces such practice (Musa, 2002). Unfortunately, increasing numbers of local foodborne diseases continue to be implicated with food service institutions that prepare and sell RTE foods (El-Shenawy., 2011). Steps to improve local surveillance of quality and safety of RTE foods are needed to help ensure public health. The benefits in cost and convenience derived from RTE foods should always be coupled with safety assurance. Street vended and restaurant food can contribute to food security of those involved in its production, particularly, suppliers of raw produce, food processors, and consumers (Opeolu et al., 2010).

Globally, an estimated 600 million- almost 1 in 10people in the world, fall ill after consuming contaminated food. And 420 000 die every year from ingestion of ready-to-eat food products and contaminated food (WHO, 2016). Street sold foods are appreciated for their unique flavors and convenience. They also assure food security for low-income urban population and livelihood for a significant proportion of the population in many developing countries. However, the unhygienic conditions in which these foods are prepared, stored and served raise a question regarding their microbiological quality (Ghosh et al., 2007) Researchers have investigated the microbiological quality of ready-to-eat foods in different food manufacturing companies; high bacterial counts and a high incidence of foodborne pathogens in such foods have been reported
Ready-to-eat foods which are described as the convenient and fast foods for breakfast, lunchtime and super. However, problems of contamination during food preparation may occur. Therefore, the current study is important to increase the understanding of five keys to food safety, to reduce the level of contamination into an acceptable contamination. This information will be crucial to management so that they can formulate Standard operating procedure, policies etc.

The aim of the study is to assess all the cafeterias in the University of Johannesburg Doornfontein campus if five keys to food safety is followed amid preparation of ready-to-eat food they sell to students and staff. And assess the level of microorganisms found in ready-to-eat foods and surfaces.

study objectives
To determine the level of knowledge and adherence amongst food handlers on five keys to food safety.

To reveal the importance’s of five keys to food safety
study area
This is a descriptive study; the cross-sectional study will be conducted in all cafeterias in the student center (Doornfontein campus). The study will cover all the eight cafeterias within the premises of Doornfontein campus. One cafeteria is situated on the 2nd floor (right wing) John Orr Building, seven cafeterias are situated in the student center.

Population and sampling methods
The study will only be limited to cafeterias, located within the Doornfontein campus (University of Johannesburg). The study population will only be food handlers. This study targets a sample size of 5 to 10 food handlers (participants). All the cafeterias will be randomly sampled. Numbers will be allocated to the shops and they will be drawn from a bowl. Stratified convenience sampling methods will be used to select participants as the study would include only those who are working amid the dissemination of the interview (Joubert et al, 2007). This study of the method is very crucial; it is because it allows the interviewer to collect the data according to their knowledge.

Data gathering
The researcher will collect data by using questionnaire interviewing the participant (food handler). The questionnaire (Annexure A), everything will be written in English. The questionnaire is divided into five sections according to the five keys to food safety. Also, the observational checklist (Annexure B) will be used to determine if what they are providing is adhered to or not. The calibrated hygiena ensure will also be used to determine the level of contamination in surfaces used amid the preparation of food. Food samples will also be collected for laboratory analysis, using all correct equipment
Inclusion and exclusion criteria
All the food handlers in all eight cafeterias will be included in the study regardless of their gender, age, race or work experience. other people other than food handlers will not be allowed to participate in the study.

Validity and reliability
Reliability of the study depends on the (observational checklist, questionnaire, calibrated hygiena ensure and food samples results) which will be done on the one day. Data will be collected by the researcher since he is knowledgeable about the food hygiene as well as food safety. The incubator that is going to be used will be checked before if it is functioning at its best level. The agar plates which will be used amid culturing will be tested if they are not contaminated. The microscope that will be used must be calibrated for the accuracy of our results. All the swabs that will be used they will be coming out of the sealed box to reveal that they have never been used before.
Pilot study
Pilot study will be conducted in all the cafeterias to determine if the knowledge of the food handles is valid. Also to check the accuracy of the questionnaire’s validity and reliability. Participants which will be included in the pilot study will be excluded amid actual study. After the pilot study, amendments may be made to the data collection tools. The procedure will be important in ensuring an accurate data-collecting tool.

Descriptive statistics will be used to verify/ analyze data using STATA latest version. Also, the microscope instrument tool will be used to determine the gram negative or gram positive in food samples.
According to Jobert et al (2006) state that ethical thinking is very crucial especially when dealing with new circumstances. The researcher will commence with the approval and clearance of the faculty of health science. The researcher will also gain permission from the owners of the cafeterias and responsible personnel at the University of Johannesburg.

Informed consent
The researcher will explain the aim and significance as well as the rights of the participants. The privacy of the participants will be protected by ensuring that the information provided is used for the purposes intended. No identity will be disclosed.

Right to withdraw
The participants will be informed about his/her rights before the commencement of the interview so that the participants can withdraw at any time and stage of the involvement in the study and this should not cause any harm if the participants withdraw.

Right to no harm
The information disclosed by the participants in the questionnaire will not be made available to anyone, particularly the superiors of the participants. It will only be used in the study. All the equipment that will be used amid the study will be pre-tested and corrected before the study commences.
Risk and benefits of the participation
The study and the procedures of the research will not allow any physical discomfort or inconvenience to the participant and the participant’s family. Due to the nature of some questions in the questionnaire participant may feel offended. Benefits of participating in the study, the participants will be equipped and gain new information amid the study; importance’s of five keys to foods safety etc.

The study will end-up pinpointing gaps regarding five keys to food safety whether are they effectively implemented in the preparation of the ready-to-eat food. This will also improve systems that are put in place, trying to reduce contamination of the food. The researcher will then compile a report in form of an article, on the completion of the study to the University of Johannesburg (faculty of health sciences). The report may also be used to guide and teach all the food handlers that want to engage in food selling. It may also be used to develop some standard operation procedure, policies etc. my wish is that all the findings may be published in accredited research journals. So that students and other people who want to pursue the similar study may use it as the reference. The findings will be in conferences as well as seminars.
The possible limitation of the study will depend on the refusal of the funder, the department of the environmental health and managers to participate in the study.

Time schedule for the study
TASK Timeframe: FEB- OCT

Research proposal and formulation of the questionnaire
Permission to work in some areas etc. Pilot study data collection Data analysis Report writing Submitting full report
Table: 2
Estimated amount (Rands)
Human resources R 190
Capital expenses (printing, recording, laptop etc.)
R 370
Running cost (transport etc.) R250
other expenses (none planned) R500
TOTAL = R 1, 310
The researcher will find funding in FOOD BEV SETA BURSARY, and University of Johannesburg bursaries.

Abadias, M., Usall, J., Anguera, M., Solsona, C., & Viñas, I. (2008). Microbiological quality of fresh, minimally-processed fruit and vegetables, and sprouts from retail establishments. International Journal of Food Microbiology, 123(1e2), 121e129
Almualla, N.A., Laleye, L.C., Abushelaibi, A.A., Al-Qassemi, R.A., Wasesa, A.A. and Baboucarr, J., 2010. Aspects of the microbiological quality and safety of ready-to-eat foods in Sharjah supermarkets in the United Arab Emirates. Journal of food protection, 73(7), pp.1328-1331.

Bukar, A.; Uba, A.; Oyeyi, T.I. 2010: Occurrence of some enteropathogenic bacteria in some minimally and fully processed ready-to-eat foods in Kano metropolis, Nigeria. Afr. J. Food Sci., 4, 32–36.

D’Aoust, J.-Y. (2007). Current foodborne pathogens: salmonella. In M. Storrs, M.-C. Devoluy, ; P. Cruveiller (Eds.), Food safety handbook: Microbiological challenges (pp. 128e141). France: BioMérieux Education
El-Shenawy, M.A. and El-Shenawy, M.A., 2011. Listeria spp. in the coastal environment of the Aqaba Gulf, Suez Gulf and the Red Sea. Epidemiology ; Infection, 134(4), pp.752-757
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Services (USDA FSIS). (2003). Quantitative assessment of the relative risk to public health from foodborne Listeria monocytogenes among selected categories of ready-to-eat foods. Available at HYPERLINK “” Accessed 05/06/2018
Falomir, M.P.; Gozalbo, D.; Rico, H. 2010: Coliform Bacteria in Fresh Vegetables: From Cultivated Lands to Consumers. In Current Research, Technology and Education Topics in Applied Microbiology and Microbial Biotechnology; Formatex Research Center: Badajoz, Spain, 2010;
pp. 1175–1181
Ghosh, M.; Wahi, S.; Kumar, M.; Ganguli, (2207). Prevalence of enterotoxigenic Staphylococcus aureus and Shigella spp. in some raw street vended Indian foods. Int. J. Environ. Health Res., 17, 151–156.

Hanoshiro A, Morita M, Matte GR, Matte MH, Torres EAFS, 2004. Microbiological quality of selected foods from a restricted area of Sao Paulo city, Brazil. Food control 16: 439-444.

Joubert, G., Ehrlich, R., Katzenellenbogen, J.M. ;Abdool Karim, S.S. 2007, “Epidemiology: a research manual for South Africa”, Oxford University Press Southern Africa
Musa, O, L and Akande, T, M 2002: Effect of Health Education Intervention or food safety practices among food vendors in Illiron J. Med 5: 120-124.

Nkere, C.K., Ibe, N.I. and Iroegbu, C.U., 2011. Bacteriological quality of foods and water sold by vendors and in restaurants in Nsukka, Enugu State, Nigeria: A comparative study of three microbiological methods. Journal of health, population, and nutrition, 29(6), p.5606
Oranusi, S.U., Oguoma, O.I. and Agusi, E., 2013. Microbiological quality assessment of foods sold in student’s cafeterias. Global Research Journal of Microbiology, 3(1), pp.1-7.

Opeolu, B.O., Adebayo, K., Okuneye, P.A. Badru, F.A. 2010: Physiochemical
and Microbial Assessment of Roadside Food and Water Sample in Lagos
Environs. J. Appl. Sci Environ., 14:29- 34.

Tsang, O. 2002: Guidelines for Ready- To-Eat Food. Road and Environmental
Hygiene Department, Hong Kong. pp. 15 – 16.

Tambekar DH, Shirsat SD, Surdkar SB, Rajankar PN, and Banginwar YS, 2007. Prevention of transmission of infectious disease: Studies on hand hygiene in health-care among students. Cont J. Biomed Sc. 1: 6-10.

WHO, 2016. Global strategy for food safety: Safer food for better health. World Health
Organization, Geneva Switzerland ISBN924154574.

Researcher: L Nongwe
Questionnaire: to assess the food handlers if they are practicing five keys to food safety during food preparation in Doornfontein campus cafeterias.
This questionnaire must be administered to the FOOD HANDLERS at UJ (DFC CAMPUS) student center, with the permission of the owner. The owner is required to write his/her initials at the bottom of each page, a sign of agreement about the administration of the questionnaire amongst the employees who are preparing ready-to-eat (RTE) food.


To prevent the spread of microorganisms, five keys to food safety must adhere…

This questionnaire is divided into SECTIONS; each section has its own questions based on five keys to food safety. The responder is expected to tick ? where is applicable, and give his/her opinion/ views in some questions space is allocated for that…

The responder is expected to fill in his/her surname and initials and provide his/ her age, gender on provided space.

RESPONDENT NAME ————————— DATE ————————————
AGE dd/mm/yy

section a: keep clean
Questions Tick only once
How often do you wash your hands? Before preparing foods ? After preparing foods Before and after preparing foods Before, in-between and after preparing
foods Do you wash your hands after using the toilet?

Yes No Sometimes Do you wash your hands after using the toilets?

Yes No When do you sanitize your surface?
Morning only Afternoon After shift only
Regularly How do you keep your kitchen neat from insects?
Tick at least two… Doom Use fly catch Flies screen Other…

Questions Provide an answer.

How do you separate cooked from raw? Do you have color coding for cutting boards
No, if no why
Do you use containers to separate raw and cooked floor Yes

Question Ans.

At what temperature do you cook your poultry, chicken eggs etc.?
How do you maintain the temperature amid cooking process?
Do you reheat food when consumers are buying?
No if no why…

Questions Answers
At what temperature do you store your foods?
At what temperature do you store your perishable food products?
How long do you store your food in the refrigerator?
So if the period has lapsed what do you do with that food.?
Questions Answers
how do you know that the water you are using is safe?
Provide proof…
What do you do with expired food? ANNEXURE: B
University of Johannesburg
Checklist to inspect if all the cafeterias are complying with FCD act 1972 (act no 52 of 1972) or not.

N/A… provide reason where applicable Yes No
Provision waste container with the lid Availability of sanitizers
Running of hot and cold water Availability of wash hand basins Light color and smooth of walls, flooring, and ceiling etc.
freezer, chillers etc. Storage of food products Shelves in freezers to prevent cross contamination Availability of toilets for both males and females Availability of hand drier in toilets, or disposable paper and soap a surface for preparing food that is made of smooth, non-absorbent material that can be easily cleaned Tongs and other suitable utensils to handle unwrapped food. Provision and light Personal Protective Clothing is worn correctly Colour coding of cleaning materials (mops) and availability of detergents to clean floor.
Signs of no smoking inside the preparation area The cleaning schedule is put in place
Training provided to food handlers Availability of certificate of acceptability


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