THE PROBLEM AND ITS BACKGROUND
The street food industry plays an important role in developing countries in meeting the food demands of the urban dwellers. It also contributes substantially to household food spending and provides an income to many female-headed households. It is estimated that street foods contribute up to 40% of the daily diet of urban consumers in developing countries (Consumers International, undated). Street foods feed millions of people daily with a wide variety of foods that are relatively cheap and easily accessible. The street food industry offers a significant amount of employment, often to persons with little education and training. Poor personal and environmental hygiene contribute significantly to food contamination and resultant food borne diseases. It is assumed that by their nature, street food contamination is inevitable, yet millions of people depend on this source of nutrition and economic livelihood. Today, local authorities, international organizations and consumer associations are increasingly aware of the socioeconomic importance of street foods but also of their associated risks. The major concern is related to food safety, but other concerns are also reported, such as sanitation problems (waste accumulation in the streets and the congestion of waste water drains) and also the hygiene practices of the vendors. The heavy dependence on street foods by urbanites requires that good quality raw materials be used and that the foods be prepared handled and sold under hygienic conditions for the assurance of good health. There is a need to properly address the problems associated with street foods, especially food safety concerns.
The term "street food" has been defined as "ready-to-eat" foods and beverages prepared and / or sold by vendors and hawkers, especially in street corners and other similar public places for immediate consumption (UK Department of Health, 1995). Street food may be consumed where it is purchased or can be taken away and eaten elsewhere. Everything, from full course lunch or dinner to snacks, fruit juice is sold by the street food vendors. Street food vendors can be found anywhere in the world, in urban and in rural locations, and can be vendors who sell 'ready-to-eat' foods on streets with or without a license to do so. They are part of almost any distribution chain, often though at the lower end of the spectrum. Street food hawkers link urban and rural economies through movement of traders and of commodities; they serve a highly varied clientele and play an important role in the marketing of consumer goods to poorer customers. These vendors can be found in clusters around places of work, schools, hospitals, bus terminal, industrial sites and market places (Freese et al., 1998). The food vendors may have a stall which is stationary at a point, usually on the roadside or under a shop, where they prepare or cook food on the spot. Everyday these vendors store their bulky goods such as grills, tables, benches in their caravan (Freese at al., 1998).
Hygiene is the science of preserving health. It involves all measures that ensure the safety and quality of food during its handling (Jay Jane, 1992). Street food is a public health concern, since food hygiene can be difficult to practice at street level in settings where resources are scarce and surroundings are of low environmental and sanitary standards (Rheinlander et al., 2008). Food hygiene comprises of two key words which are "food" and "Hygiene". Food means any solid or liquid component which is for human consumption and Hygiene means cleanliness. Thus food hygiene stands for "all the conditions and measures necessary to ensure the safety and suitability of food at all stages of the food chain" (Codex Alimentarius, 1997).
This study will concentrate about the sanitation and hygiene of the street food vendors in Tarlac City and how consumers will...