Research Perspectives in Practice| Volume 109, ISSUE 9, P1576-1581, September 2009

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Foodservice Employees Benefit from Interventions Targeting Barriers to Food Safety


      The number of foodborne illnesses traced to improper food handling in restaurants indicates a need for research to improve food safety in these establishments. Therefore, this 2-year longitudinal study investigated the effectiveness of traditional ServSafe (National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, Chicago, IL) food-safety training and a Theory of Planned Behavior intervention program targeting employees' perceived barriers and attitudes toward important food-safety behaviors. The effectiveness of the training and intervention was measured by knowledge scores and observed behavioral compliance rates related to food-safety practices. Employees were observed for handwashing, thermometer usage, and proper handling of work surfaces at baseline, after receiving ServSafe training, and again after exposure to the intervention targeting barriers and negative attitudes about food-safety practices. Repeated-measures analyses of variance indicated training improved handwashing knowledge, but the intervention was necessary to improve overall behavioral compliance and handwashing compliance. Results suggest that registered dietitians; dietetic technicians, registered; and foodservice managers should implement a combination of training and intervention to improve knowledge and compliance with food-safety behaviors, rather than relying on training alone. Challenges encountered while conducting this research are discussed, and recommendations are provided for researchers interested in conducting this type of research in the future.
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      V. K. York is an evaluator in the Office of Educational Innovation and Evaluation, College of Education, Kansas State University, Manhattan.


      L. A. Brannon is an associate professor of Psychology, Kansas State University, Manhattan.


      C. W. Shanklin is dean of the Graduate School, Kansas State University, Manhattan.


      K. R. Roberts is assistant professor, Kansas State University, Manhattan.


      A. D. Howells is instructor, Kansas State University, Manhattan.


      E. B. Barrett is associate professor of Hospitality Management and Dietetics, Kansas State University, Manhattan.