Investigation of Parasites in Food Handlers in Turkey

Şahin M., Ödemiş N., Yılmaz H., Beyhan Y. E.

Foodborne pathogens and disease, vol.20, no.9, pp.381-387, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 20 Issue: 9
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1089/fpd.2023.0016
  • Journal Name: Foodborne pathogens and disease
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, PASCAL, CAB Abstracts, EMBASE, Food Science & Technology Abstracts, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database
  • Page Numbers: pp.381-387
  • Keywords: Entamoeba, Enterobius, food, parasite, Taenia, Toxoplasma
  • Van Yüzüncü Yıl University Affiliated: Yes


Increasing world population parallelly also brings an increase in food production and consumption. As food consumption increases, so do foodborne infections. In cases where adequate food safety and hygiene is not provided in places such as restaurants, dormitories, prisons, hospitals where mass feeding is made outside the home, many parasitic agents can be transmitted to people through food. People working in the food processing and distribution sector and who are in the position of porters play an important role in the spread of parasites, as they can transmit parasitic agents to food through fingernails and hands. Parasites such as Enterobius vermicularis, Entamoeba histolytica, and Giardia intestinalis can be transmitted to food and then to patients through nails and hands. This study was planned to investigate the presence of parasites in hospital food production and distribution workers, such as cooks and waiters, using various methods. Stool and serum samples were taken from 100 food production and distribution workers. Stool samples were examined by native-Lugol, concentration, trichrome, acid-fast staining, and cellophane tape methods. E. histolytica antigen in stool and Toxoplasma and Taenia antibodies in serum were searched by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Parasites were detected in 59% people, and 41 were evaluated as negative. This positivity was 71.9% (23/32) in the 45-61 age range. Blastocystis sp. (27%), Toxoplasma (25%), E. histolytica (10%), Taenia spp. (7%), E. vermicularis (7%), Entamoeba coli (7%), G. intestinalis (5%), Chilomastix mesnili (1%), and I. butschlii (1%) were detected in food handlers. High Toxoplasma antibody positivity (25%) suggests the possibility of transmission to kitchen workers through ways, such as infected raw meat. However, the detection of E. histolytica, Taenia spp., E. vermicularis, G. intestinalis parasites in workers at significant levels poses a significant risk for society consuming these foods. As a result, it is important to investigate the presence of parasites in the employee dealing with food production and distribution to protect patients from parasitic infections especially in hospitals where the people are immunocompromised and more susceptible, and where mass meals are eaten.