Lack of reliable data about street vendors, who are difficult to survey, has hampered efforts to improve the safety of street-vended food. A two-phase method for sampling vendors, surveying first in areas of concentrated vending activity identified by local authorities and second in randomly selected areas, was developed and implemented in two Guatemalan cities where street-vended food had been implicated in cholera transmission. In a 4-day survey in Escuintla, 59 vendors (42 from phase 1, 17 from phase 2) were interviewed. They demonstrated good knowledge of food safety and cholera but unsafe practices, implying that more effective, practical training was needed. In a 6-day survey in Guatemala City, 78 vendors (77 from phase 1, 1 from phase 2) were interviewed. Sixty-eight (87%) vendors stored water, usually in wide-mouthed vessels prone to contamination; this led to a field test of a new system for safe water storage. Useful information for public health planning and intervention can be gathered rapidly with this new method for surveying street vendors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases