On-site hygiene and biosecurity assessment: A new tool to assess live bird stalls in wet markets

Soon, Jan Mei orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-0488-1434 and Wahab, Ikarastika Rahayu Abdul (2021) On-site hygiene and biosecurity assessment: A new tool to assess live bird stalls in wet markets. Food Control . ISSN 0956-7135

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodcont.2021.108108


Wet markets play an important role in food security and consumers often view the produce as fresher and cheaper. It is highly prevalent in Asia and a source of livelihood for many small and medium businesses. Studies have revealed that highly unsanitary markets, especially those with live bird stalls operating within the wet market could pose a threat to consumer food safety and public health. This study proposed a new, rapid assessment tool for monitoring hygiene and biosecurity measures of live bird stalls. The design of Hygiene and Biosecurity Assessment Tool (HBAT) was supported by the identification of critical hygiene and biosecurity practices based on empirical evidence that suggests such control measures can prevent or reduce the cross contamination or transmission of zoonoses. An observational, cross sectional study of wet markets selling live birds and/or slaughtered birds was conducted to test the tool. Most wet market stalls slaughter and/or sell chicken, followed by quail, duck and amphibians. 50% of the wet market stalls were rated as moderate, 43.2% as poor and require major improvement, 2.3% as good and 4.5% as excellent. Stalls are in general kept in clean condition and no mixing of species or presence of pests or strays were observed. The cleaning and disinfection practices of slaughter area (after each slaughter) and tools require urgent improvement as majority of stalls cleaned the surfaces with water only. Customers have direct access to live bird stalls and should be reminded (with visible signs) to wash their hands before entering other zones. Toilet and handwashing facilities are highly inadequate and improved physical infrastructure and the provision of sufficient hygiene and handwashing facilities are required to facilitate hand hygiene. This study is highly relevant to countries where wet markets and live bird stalls play a crucial food security role to the local communities. The tool could be used to aid policymakers design evidence-based assessments to monitor on-site hygiene and biosecurity measures of live bird/animal stalls in wet markets. To our knowledge, this is the first empirical study to propose an on-site hygiene and biosecurity assessment tool to monitor live bird stalls in wet market.

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