Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Study Looks at Why Restaurant Workers Don't Wash Hands and Follow Other Food Safety Practices

Why do restaurant workers -- who handle an estimated 70 billion meals and snacks in the U.S. every year -- sometimes not follow common food safety practices such as washing their hands properly or keeping work surfaces sanitary?

According to a recent Kansas State University study, restaurant workers blame time constraints, inconvenience, inadequate training and inadequate resources for failure to follow food safety practices.

K-State researchers conducted focus groups with restaurant employees to identify perceived barriers to hand-washing, cleaning work surfaces and using food thermometers. Foodborne illnesses are most commonly caused by poor personal hygiene, cross contamination and improper time/temperature controls.

Barriers, they found, were not only a lack of food safety knowledge but also often a lack of understanding why employees should comply with food safety guidelines. Previous research indicated that training increases knowledge regarding food safety issues, but that knowledge does not always translate into improved behaviors.

"We have used the results of this study to develop and implement an intervention program to address the barriers that training appears," said Amber D. Howells, an instructor of dietetics, registered dietitian and the study's first author.

The restaurant industry employs 13.1 million people, and 59 percent of reported foodborne illness outbreaks were associated with restaurants in 2005. Howells said outbreaks usually are directly related to food-handler error.

Because of the study, K-State researchers recommend that restaurant managers:

* Provide regular food safety training to their foodservice employees;

* Educate employees about the consequences of improper food handling to improve attitudes toward food safety;

* Place signs about consequences of improper food handling in food production areas;

* Encourage food safety compliance with verbal reminders and praise;

* Be good role models;

* Incorporate food safety practices into employees' daily routines to eliminate the perceptions that they do not have time to perform them.

Other researchers with the K-State's department of hospitality management and dietetics involved with the study included Betsy B. Barrett, associate professor and a registered dietitian; Kevin R. Roberts, assistant professor; and Carol W. Shanklin, professor, interim dean of the Graduate School and a registered dietitian. Also involved were Valerie K. York, an evaluator in K-State's office of educational innovation and evaluation, and Laura A. Brannon, associate professor of psychology.

For the study, two series of focus groups were conducted. Focus groups were to identify obvious barriers to following safe food preparation practices. The 34 participants in Group A, all restaurant employees involved in food preparation, received no special food safety training. The 125 participants in the second series of focus groups, Group B, were divided into 20 focus groups and received four hours of formal training from certified ServSafe instructors.

The research found that employees did not comply with food safety guidelines because of a variety of perceived barriers.

In Group A, additional barriers identified lack of space and other tasks competing with cleaning work surfaces; inconvenient location of sinks and having dry skin limiting hand-washing; and lack of working thermometers and thermometers in inconvenient locations.

Group B agreed with Group A, but added other barriers: lack of incentive to clean work surfaces and manager not monitoring the work and manager not monitoring the use of thermometers.

Research results were published in the August 2008 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. The study was funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to Shanklin. The $482,763 grant also is funding other food safety research.

Jane Marshall | Newswise Science News
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>