Evaluation of food safety knowledge and practices employed in maintaining and operating hot/cold self-serve bars in food retailing
Increasing availability of foods offered by grocery stores in hot/cold self-serve bars has created new food safety training challenges. The purpose of this research was to determine the impact of manager food safety training on employee knowledge and performance related hot/cold self-serve bars. Three retail chains participated having 15 stores per chain observed by the investigators pre- and post-training at set-up, lunch, and closing to collect information on food safety practices. After pre-training observation, managers from 8 stores per chain attended an eight-hour food safety training course (training group), while managers from the remaining 7 stores received no additional training (control group). Managers from the training group were encouraged to train their employees with the knowledge they had gained. Following the training all stores were observed to collect post-training data. The observational scores for the control and trained stores pre-training and post-training were compared. Manager training had no significant (P ≤ 0.05) affect on employee food safety behaviors pre- or post-training based on investigator observations. Prior to training there was a strong relationship (r = 0.680) between the managers’ and employees’ knowledge. After training this relationship decreased (r = 0.356), indicating that no new information was transferred post-training. Since no new information was gained the employee and manager knowledge was combined to reflect the stores’ knowledge. The store knowledge only moderately impacted the stores’ pre- training performance in the observational category of temperature control (r = 0.327), but that impact was not altered by manager training. It was determined that audit categories of personnel (0.358 ), food handling (0.316), storage (0.384), and observation category food temperature (0.350) were moderately related to how much the manager knew on performance-based questions. The information gained by the post-training performance and knowledge scores was used to determine the food safety training needs. The performance scores indicated that training materials covering practices related to food temperature, utensil usage, and product handling need to be developed. The knowledge scores indicated that materials related to proper cleaning and sanitizing, and general food safety principles (such as time and temperature control, good personal hygiene, and cross contamination prevention) should also be developed.