Assessment of the sanitary conditions and food handlers’ practices of public and private high school canteens in Eastern Visayas, Philippines
The aim of this study was to evaluate the sanitary conditions and food handlers' practices of 22 high school canteens from five major cities of Eastern Visayas, Philippines. Fifteen public and seven private schools in Tacloban, Ormoc, Catbalogan, Baybay and Maasin City which adopted the "cook-serve" method were selected and assessed based on food service checklist that was formulated in compliance with the Philippine Code of Sanitation (1976) for food establishments. Results have shown that six (40%) out of 15 public schools have medium sanitary conditions while 9 (60%) of these schools were classified under poor sanitary conditions. In private schools, one (14%), four (57%) and two (29%) schools have good, medium and poor sanitary conditions, respectively. Results have also indicated that public schools may have an overall lower sanitary conditions as compared to private schools based on the higher numbers of public schools classified under poor sanitary conditions. Considering the criterion on food handlers' hygiene, both public (6.25) and private schools (6.25) scored low indicating poor hygiene practices. From this study, it can be suggested that aspects of the acquisition of permits and certificates, improvement of facility design and strict implementation of hygiene practices should be given careful consideration by the school administrators, including the local government units. An example of intervention that should be done includes training targeting food handlers to increase their awareness on good manufacturing practices (GMPs).Quantification of microbial contents of food and water is also warranted.