Food Safety Attitudes and Practices in Traditional Markets in Nigeria: A Quantitative Formative Assessment

Food safety is critical to public health and safety. Feed the Future’s EatSafe program seeks to improve food safety in traditional food markets, a key source of nutritious foods for millions of people in low- and middle-income countries, by leveraging consumer demand as a driving force to shape food systems. To understand the knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) relevant to food safety among both food consumers and vendors, EatSafe conducted three studies under the umbrella of this quantitative formative assessment in Kebbi State, Nigeria:

  1. Structured Consumer Survey (n=470);

  2. Structured Vendor Survey (n=478); and

  3. Direct Observations of Vendor Behaviors (n=50, subset of survey respondents).

Traditional markets in Kebbi State are lively and complex venues. Because both females and males are primary shoppers for their household, and spouses share food purchasing decisions, EatSafe interviewed an equal number of men and women. All of EatSafe’s Key Commodities in Nigeria are commonly purchased in the markets, though were not perceived as high risk by either consumers or vendors. While vendors’ overall socioeconomic status was relatively high, female vendors faced a significantly higher probability of poverty. Vendors believe prices are the top factor that influence whether customers return, while cleanliness was cited infrequently. Direct observations of vendor found vendor practices could contribute to food contamination. For instance, food is usually not covered, is handled with bare hands that also touch money, and perishable foods are kept at ambient temperature. Handwashing or sanitizing was observed but was limited.