Assessment of Food Safety Practices of Food Service Food Handlers (Risk Assessment Data): Testing a Communication Intervention (Evaluation of Tools)

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Abstract:

Globally, foodborne illness affects an estimated 30% of individuals annually. Meals prepared outside of the home are a risk factor for acquiring foodborne illness and have been implicated in up to 70% of traced outbreaks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called on food safety communicators to design new methods and messages aimed at increasing food safety risk-reduction practices from farm to fork. Food safety infosheets, a novel communication tool designed to appeal to food handlers and compel behavior change, were evaluated. Food safety infosheets were provided weekly to food handlers in working food service operations for 7 weeks. It was hypothesized that through the posting of food safety infosheets in highly visible locations, such as kitchen work areas and hand washing stations, that safe food handling behaviors of food service staff could be positively influenced. Using video observation, food handlers (n = 47) in eight food service operations were observed for a total of 348 h (pre- and postintervention combined). After the food safety infosheets were introduced, food handlers demonstrated a significant increase (6.7%, P < 0.05, 95% confidence interval) in mean hand washing attempts, and a significant reduction in indirect cross-contamination events (19.6%, P < 0.05, 95% confidence interval). Results of the research demonstrate that posting food safety infosheets is an effective intervention tool that positively influences the food safety behaviors of food handlers.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1; Department of 4-H Youth Development and Family and Consumer Sciences North Carolina State University, Campus Box 7606, Raleigh, NC 27695-7606, USA 2: School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1 3: Department of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas 66506, USA 4: Department of Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1

Publication date: June 1, 2010

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    First published in 1937, the Journal of Food Protection®, is a refereed monthly publication. Each issue contains scientific research and authoritative review articles reporting on a variety of topics in food science pertaining to food safety and quality. The Journal is internationally recognized as the leading publication in the field of food microbiology with a readership exceeding 11,000 scientists from 70 countries. The Journal of Food Protection® is indexed in Index Medicus, Current Contents, BIOSIS, PubMed, Medline, and many others.

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