Because children belong to the category of persons that are classified as high risk group when it comes to food-borne illness and they are more susceptible to food-borne illness and experience more severe consequences of food borne illness than adults, teaching them at an early age about food-borne illness is helpful in protecting them because when children become aware that food can be a source of illness it helps them make informed decisions on what to eat and what not to eat especially when they are alone or with their peers, away from the watchful eyes of adults.
Some months ago the Food-Borne Illness Prevention Initiative conducted a survey on food-borne illness risk perception and awareness at Ikot-Usekong, a semi-urban community in Eket LGA, using a mixture of face-to-face administered and self-administered questionnaires. Participants were selected using a non-probability convenience sampling strategy.
Findings from the survey showed that majority of the participants have a high risk perception of food-borne illness. It also emerged that most participants simply rely on cleanliness and good sanitation as the sole means of preventing food-borne illness. There seemed to be little or no knowledge about other food safety practices like separation of raw foods and ready-to-eat foods to prevent cross contamination, temperature control of food during storage, cooking food at right temperature and time to destroy pathogenic microflora, and so on and so forth.
What this implies is that a false sense of being secured from food-borne illness is assumed by the participants simply by maintaining good sanitation and cleanliness whereas as good as this practice is, in itself alone its unable to completely prevent food-borne illness from occurring.
This finding is consistent with similar social research work conducted in other parts of the country recently by other independent researchers using different research tools.
Below are photographs of FIPI volunteers administering questionnaires to participants.