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Lesson Note

Subject: Food And Nutrition

Topic: Hygiene

Lesson objectives: by the end of the lesson, the learners should be able to:

  1. Define the terms ‘hygiene, personal hygiene, kitchen hygiene, food hygiene.
  2. Say ways to observe the stayed types of hygiene above;
  3. Exhibit good personal, kitchen and food hygiene practices in their homes.

Lesson Summary / Discussion


When I was growing up, before we eat any meal, my mother would always ask us to bless the food before eating. Then one day, out of curiosity, I asked why she always ask us to bless the food she prepared by herself when clearly she can’t poison food meant for her own children. She then replied “the stuffs used in preparing this food you are eating right now passed through many hands before I purchased them from the market”. What am I saying? That you are the master chef of your kitchen doesn’t mean food poisoning can’t occur if you do not implement good hygiene in handling food. Do note that no matter how carefully the production and marketing processes have been handled before food reaches the kitchen, if high standards of cleanliness and sanitation are not practised there, the food may become contaminated. There is therefore the need for both the person working in the kitchen and the kitchen itself to be thoroughly cleaned. The first step in providing clean, safe food is the selection in the food market. It is
always good to examine packaged foods and avoid those in a torn package, a bulged can, or a container with an imperfect scal. Also perishable foods such as meat, fish, vegetables etc that are already spoilt or not properly stored should not be purchased. All these precautions will prevent the introduction of already
contaminated food, and therefore disease carrying organisms, into our kitchen.
I hope you get to learn more from this lesson.

Period 1: Personal Hygiene

What is Personal Hygiene? We need to know the meaning of the word ‘hygiene’ first. Hygiene are acts or practices that promote and preserve health. Personal Hygiene are measures taken by individuals to stay clean and healthy. Even when effective sanitary practices have been observed in the chain of food production, processing, and marketing, it is possible that a family member may become infected with one of the many organisms causing disease and unknowingly or carelessly transmit it to other members of the family. Because of this hazard of communicating an infection, it is wise that only an individual who is healthy and has no injuries, sores or skin infections should handle food, dishes and glasses used in the service of food to other persons.

Sanitary Practices To Be Observed In The Kitchen

Below are some of the sanitary practices to be observed in the kitchen:

  • Wash hands with soap and clean water, rinse and wipe them dry before beginning to work in the kitchen after each visit to the toilet, even after sweeping and dusting.
  • Avoid having long finger nails and the use of nail polish.
  • Avoid the use of jewellery on the fingers.
  • Always wear a clean apron or overall. An old frock can be made into a simple apron or overall.
  • Do not leave your hair uncovered. A cap or cadscarf should be worn to prevent hair from getting into the food.
  • Any cuts or sores should be well dressed and covered and the hands hould be washed just before beginning to cook and requently during cooking.
  • Care must be taken so as not to sneeze or cough over the food.
  • Avoid putting on too high heeled shoes in the kitchen as this may result in kitchen accident.

Period 2: Kitchen Hygiene

Kitchen Hygiene entails all measures taken by housewives and all kitchen users to keep the kitchen in good condition. In order to keep the kitchen clean and hence prevent contamination, the following rules should be observed.

  • Keep work surfaces clean at all times, wiping up any spillage at once.
  • Use only clean utensils and dishes in the preparation and service of food.
  • Take hold of utensils by the handles,
  • and of dishes and glasses in such a way that the serving surface is not touched.
  • Keep refrigerator and other food storage places very clean.
  • Wash up dishes alter use with soap and water and drain by turning them upside down.
  • Always use clean, dry cloth for drying dishes and utensils and boil the cloth daily after use. The drying cloths and towels should not be kept on the floor, neither should they be tucked under the arm or put around the neck. Hang them on a line or nail in a convenient place in the kitchen.
  • Cover the dust bins with fitting lids and empty them regularly.
  • Cover all food when cleaning the floor and use methods that will keep down dust.
  • Wipe down shelves regularly to prevent cockroachcs and other pests.
  • Every part of the kitchen should be kept thoroughly clean.

Period 3: Food Hygiene
Apart from the kitchen and personal
hygiene, it is important that food is kept clean. The food, being rich in nutrients, is also a good environment for microorganisms to thrive.

The spoilage of food can be caused by any of the following agents:

(a) Microorganisms
(b) Food enzymes
(c) Chemicals

Microorganisms spoil food by sapping the nutrients thereby causing their decay. Examples of the microorganisms that can cause food spoilage are bacteria, molds and yeasts. Food enzymes bring about spoilage by promoting reactions that
can lcyad to the decomposition of the food components notably protein carbohydrates and fats. The presence of some chemicals in the food can also lead to spoilage of food by either promoting chemical reactions that will lead to the spoilage of the food or enhancing the activities of microorganisms and food enzymes. The housewife must therefore make sure that foodstuffs purchased are
wholesome and free from any traces of contamination.

Hygiene in the kitchen

In order to prevent food contamination, the following rules should be adhered to:

  • Select fresh vegetables and fruits.
  • Make use of perishable food on time especially when there are no facilities such as refrigerator for storage.
  • Foods that have changed from their natural texture, colour odour, physical properties should not be purchased or consumed.
  • All foods must be covered with fitting lids.
  • Do not purchase canned foods that have dented or containers swollen or expired.
  • Left over foods/soup should be boiled properly before consumption.

Food Borne Diseases
These are diseases that occur due to the consumption of contaminated foods. These diseases can be classified into two broad groups:

Food poisoning: This refers to
an illness caused by a poison or
bolehole toxin in the food when eaten. Such poison or toxins are usually produced by microorganisms or the results of some chemical
reactions in the food.

Food infection: This reters to an
illness caused by a pathogenic
organism carried by the food and transmitted to man. Examples of microorganisms that cause food poisoning are staphilococcus aureus and clostridium botulinum, while an example of an organism that can cause infection is salmonella. The presence of poisonous chemicals in food can also lead to food poisoning. Such chemicals are lead, mercury, arsenic, uranium, cobalt etc. Food poisoning and or infection can either be mild when it is only accompanied by intestinal pains which subside after some hours or it can be severe when it is accompanicd by vomiting serious intestinal pains, and frequent stooling. In such severe cases, the victim should be taken to a nearby health centre as quickly as possible since the patient can die if not attended to on time.

Food Sanitation Law

In an order to prevent consumers from purchasing and consuming contaminated food, the Federal Govermment of Nigeria promulgaled, in 1974, a decree known as the Food and Drugs Decrec. This decree spelt out the various things the consumers should look for in order to avoid buying contaminaled food. The decree also made provision for its entorcement and prosecution of

The ehforcementof the law is saddled
on the National Agency for Foods and
Drugs Administration and Control
(NAFDAC) in the Federal Ministry of
Health. The administration is headed by a Director-General. In turn, the NAFDAC appointed some officers
Inspecting Officers who visit markets,
supermarkets, hotels, restaurants, food Companies and make sure that only wholesome foods are offered to the public for consumption. The NAFDAC has offices in all the states of the Federation and cases of adulteration or contamination are reported to the statc officcs for necessary action. The problem, however, is that sorme of the Nigerian population is not aware of the existence of NAFDAC and her functions.The government should therefore give this body adequate publicity. The government should therefore give this body adequate publicity.
Some of the food laws are:
1.No person shall sell any article of
food which:
(a). has in it or upon it any poisonous
or harmful substance not being a
food additive or contaminant of a
type, and within the level permitted by regulations made under this Decree.
(b). is unfit lor human consumption.

(c). consists in wholly or in part all any filthy, disgusting, rotten or diseased substance.

2. No person shall sell any articie of
food or any drug which is adulterated.3. No person shall sell any article of
food or any drug or cosmetic which
was manutacturcd, prepared, preserved, packaged or stored under
unsanitary conditions.
From these few examples, it crystal clear that Federal Government care about consumers nutritional being.

Was this helpful? See previous lessons in Food And Nutrition.

Lesson Evaluation / Test

  1. What is hygiene?
  2. Mention three area of hygiene we discussed and briefly explain them.
  3. State the measures to be taken to observe the areas of hygiene discussed.
  4. What is food law?
  5. Which government agency is responsible for checking food hygiene in your country?
  6. Explain food borne disease with examples.
  7. Mention three agents that cause food spoilage.

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