A needs assessment for the development of a computer-based food safety curriculum to train employees in the self-service food bars of grocery stores
Dodd, Caleb D.
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The incorporation of hot and cold self-service food bars into grocery stores in an effort to capture a portion of home meal replacement industry is presenting new challenges in the safety programs for retail food establishments. To ensure retail success and customer safety, employees need to be educated in proper food preparation, handling, temperature control, and storage practices. Traditional methods of training are not meeting the needs of the retail food industry. Computer-based curriculum is a promising avenue for developing effective training material for food safety. Although many food safety curriculums exist, none address the specific needs of hot and cold self-service food bars in the grocery industry. In an effort to design an effective training program a quasi-experimental study was performed using a needs assessment. Data was collected from three separate chains within the retail food industry from six geographical locations. The pre-post assessment study utilized an interventional training and included collecting questionnaires from 300 employees. Findings of the study described characteristics of employees within each chain individually and collectively as a whole. The findings also described characteristics of stores, as well as stores’ procedures and policies. In addition, food safety knowledge was assessed by comparing pre-training and post-training assessments for managerial employees and non-managerial employees. The most important finding for this study consisted of identifying specific items to be included in the development of computer-based food safety curriculum to be implemented for training employees in hot and cold self-service food bars of grocery stores.