Improving the safety of street vended food

People have the right to expect the food they eat to be safe and suitable for consumption.

People have the right to expect the food they eat to be safe and suitable for consumption.

Foodborne illness and foodborne injury are at best unpleasant; at worst, they can be fatal. But there are also other consequences. Outbreaks of foodborne disease can damage a country’s health image, and lead to loss of earnings, unemployment and litigation. Food spoilage is wasteful, costly and can adversely affect business and consumer confidence.

In Swaziland, as is the case in many developing countries, there has been a tremendous growth in the trade of street vended foods. This informal trade, although still illegal in our country, has continued despite local authorities employing marshals to detain traders in an effort to try and curd its growth.


This then raise a policy question of how effective it is to out-law the trade. Given the socio economic changes that our society has gone through, it time to reconsider such a policy stance. The better approach, in my opinion, is to allow such trade and put in place such controls as to guard against harm to the health of our people. Increase in population and urbanization continues fuel the growth of street vending of foods.

This informal trade is a source of livelihood for a large number of low income workers and the urban poor.


Besides, it provides a chance of self-employment and income for a lot of the families of the traders, especially women headed homes.

In a effort to contribute to the improvement of the safety of street vended foods the Swaziland Standards Authority (SWASA) has, in consultation with all relevant stakeholders, developed the national standard SZNS CODEXSTAN CAC/GL 22 Guidelines for design of control measures for street vended foods.

This standard lays a firm foundation for ensuring food hygiene. It recommends a HACCP-based approach wherever possible to enhance food safety as described in the Recommended International Code of Practice – General Principles of Food Hygiene.


The standard is commended to Government, Municipalities, industry (Including primary producers) and consumers as it provide provisions to be considered when elaborating street food control measures. The ultimate aim is to assist relevant authorities in upgrading the operation of the street food industry to ensure that the population has wholesome, safe and nutritious foods in accessible places.

This is a very practical and easy to follow standard. It has clear provisions for location, equipment, facilities, maintenance and cleaning, waste management and sanitation.

Control operation provisions include cooking and handling, serving food and handling of unsold foods. All key aspects of hygiene control systems are outlined. Of key importance, which is also provided for in the standard, is the personal health of the vendors (Food Handlers). Food handlers should be of a good health status and personal cleanliness.

SWASA provides standards-based training.

Relevant authorities can engage the organization to train them and the vendors on the requirements of the standard.

In collaboration with other partners, materials can be developed to better communicate to food handlers, who are mostly semi literate, the aspects of hygiene and food safety provisions of the standard.

Author: MC World

Share This Post On

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *