: The purpose of the present study is to assess the extent of knowledge and food safety practices among food handlers (FHs) to prevent food risks. This cross-sectional study was conducted between July 2021 and February 2022 in a random sample of FHs working in three regions of the Southern part of Italy. A two-stage cluster random sampling strategy was used to select FHs working at food businesses in the Regions. Data were collected through an anonymous self-administered questionnaire that consisted of 33 questions grouped into five sections to gather sociodemographic and professional characteristics, knowledge about foodborne illnesses (FBIs) and food safety, adherence to proper food handling practices and sources of information. The overall median knowledge score was 8 (interquartile range 6-9), but only 2.2 % of the respondents answered all 12 statements correctly. Among the recruited FHs, 71.2 % and 65.4 % reported always keeping raw and cooked food separate and using different utensils while handling raw and cooked foods, respectively. With respect to the use of personal protective equipments, 79.3 % and 67.6 % stated always wear work clothing and hair restrain (e.g., hats, hairnets), respectively. Just 20.9 % of the FHs properly defrosted food (i.e., in the fridge) and 39.9 % used food warmers for keeping food at least at 65 °C while waiting for service. The findings highlighted poor knowledge concerning the ideal temperatures for cooking, holding and storing foods, exacerbated by poor personal and hand hygiene, certain factors associated with the spread of foodborne pathogens.

Evaluating levels of knowledge and food safety practices among food handlers in the Southern part of Italy

Licata, Francesca;Costantino, Natascia;Bianco, Aida
2024-01-01

Abstract

: The purpose of the present study is to assess the extent of knowledge and food safety practices among food handlers (FHs) to prevent food risks. This cross-sectional study was conducted between July 2021 and February 2022 in a random sample of FHs working in three regions of the Southern part of Italy. A two-stage cluster random sampling strategy was used to select FHs working at food businesses in the Regions. Data were collected through an anonymous self-administered questionnaire that consisted of 33 questions grouped into five sections to gather sociodemographic and professional characteristics, knowledge about foodborne illnesses (FBIs) and food safety, adherence to proper food handling practices and sources of information. The overall median knowledge score was 8 (interquartile range 6-9), but only 2.2 % of the respondents answered all 12 statements correctly. Among the recruited FHs, 71.2 % and 65.4 % reported always keeping raw and cooked food separate and using different utensils while handling raw and cooked foods, respectively. With respect to the use of personal protective equipments, 79.3 % and 67.6 % stated always wear work clothing and hair restrain (e.g., hats, hairnets), respectively. Just 20.9 % of the FHs properly defrosted food (i.e., in the fridge) and 39.9 % used food warmers for keeping food at least at 65 °C while waiting for service. The findings highlighted poor knowledge concerning the ideal temperatures for cooking, holding and storing foods, exacerbated by poor personal and hand hygiene, certain factors associated with the spread of foodborne pathogens.
2024
Food handlers
Food handling practices
Food safety
Foodborne illnesses
Italy
Knowlwdge
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12317/94875
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