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Effect of food safety training on food handlers’ knowledge and practices

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– A successful food safety intervention must be based on firm theories and a consideration of all relevant variables. The purpose of this paper is to examine the extent of improvement in food safety knowledge and practices of food handlers in primary school canteens through food safety training.


– A list of 98 primary schools was randomized into intervention and control groups using a multistage sampling method. The training programme for the intervention group and questionnaires for evaluating knowledge and practices were developed. On-site observations were done to assess hygienic practices during the handling of raw food and cooking equipment. In total, 16 school canteens participated in this study.


– Knowledge about personal hygiene and related to rules for preparing safe food was significantly improved after the food safety intervention. Some of the improvement was sustained for up to 12 weeks after the intervention. The self-reported practice score of food safety and hygiene in the intervention group was significantly higher at post1 and post2 compared to baseline. A significant within-group and between-group improvement was demonstrated for the observed behaviour of raw food handling and equipment sanitation.


– The originality of this study is to provide a new framework for the design and implementation of food safety intervention in school canteens targeted towards a specific enabling factor for behavioural change. Provision of food safety training grounded by the theory of planned behaviour was associated with significantly improved food safety knowledge and behaviour amongst food handlers.
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Keywords: Food safety intervention; Knowledge; Practice; School canteen; Theory of planned behaviour

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Kubang Kerian, Malaysia 2: Food Safety and Quality Division, Kelantan State Health Department, Ministry of Health, Kelantan, Malaysia

Publication date: April 4, 2016

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