Challenges to Compliance and Adherence to Personal Hygiene and Food Safety Among Foodservice Workers in Hospitals of Mogalakwena Municipality, Limpopo Province

Mabitsela Hezekiel Mphasha1, *, DMR Tleane1, PK Sibiya1, PK Sithole1, ST Nkwane1
1 Department of Human Nutrition and Dietetics; University of Limpopo, Limpopo, South Africa



Foodborne illnesses could result from food handlers acquiring bacteria that make them dangerous for humans to consume. Non-adherence to personal hygiene and food safety can impact how well patients' conditions are managed and aggravate illnesses during hospital stay. Therefore, this study seeks to explore factors that may impact adherence to personal hygiene and food safety among hospital food service workers.


Qualitative exploratory study design was used to extract data from food handlers at Mokopane and Voortrekker hospitals in Mogalakwena municipality of Limpopo province, South Africa. Twenty-one participants were purposively sampled, and face-to-face interviews were conducted using voice recorders and field notes for non-verbal cues. Tesch’s eight steps, inductive, descriptive, and open coding techniques were used to analyse data.


Factors reportedly affecting personal hygiene and food safety include knowledge of the importance of adherence to personal hygiene and food safety, personal preferences and attitude towards personal hygiene, and lack of uniform and inspection. Non-adherence is affected by cultural norms regarding the wearing of wedding rings and bracelets on the wrist.


This study recommends regular internal and external food safety compliance and monitoring. The leadership of the hospital's food service department should be strengthened, and food handlers should get regular in-service training.

Keywords: Food handlers, Adherence, Personal hygiene, Food safety, Hospital food service, Patients.

Abstract Information

Identifiers and Pagination:

Year: 2023
Volume: 16
DOI: 10.2174/18749445-v16-e20230712-2022-230

Article History:

Electronic publication date: 12/07/2023
Collection year: 2023

© 2023 Mphasha et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Human Nutrition and Dietetics; University of Limpopo, Limpopo, South Africa; Tel: +27(0)766199310; E-mail: