215904 Developing Locally-Relevant Educational Messages to Promote Restaurant Industry Preparedness Against Intentional Food Contamination

Monday, November 8, 2010 : 10:30 AM - 10:50 AM

Sudha Xirasagar, MBBS, PhD , Dept of Health Services Policy and Management, University of South Carolina, Arnold School of Public Health, Columbia, SC
C.P. Kanwat, MBBS, MPH , Division of Food Protection, South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, Columbia, SC
Wade Sellers, BA , Division of Food Protection, South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, Columbia, SC
Matt N. Alsup, BA , Division of Food Protection, South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, Columbia
Yi-Jhen Li, MHA , Dept of Health Services Policy and Management, University of South Carolina, Arnold School of Public Health, Columbia, SC
Background and issues: Intentional food contamination at restaurants by terrorists or disgruntled local individuals is a potential hazard, particularly post 9/11. Preventive practices against intentional contamination are widely deficient, and can be improved by targeted educational messages. For this, local public health agencies should identify key vulnerabilities, knowledge gaps, and resource status, to tailor messages to local context. This presentation will illustrate how public health nurses/ community partners can initiate locally relevant food defense preparedness activities. We present an illustrative experience in South Carolina of identifying the vulnerabilities, gaps and resource-efficient restaurant practices that would maximize public protection against intentional food contamination in restaurants. We will present the resulting educational DVD highlighting key practices to protect restaurant patrons' health in SC

Description: Our project was supported by CDC and FDA for survey development needed for community needs assessment, and for surveying restaurants to assess current prevalence of food defense practices and restaurant preferences regarding food defense education. Survey development involved focus groups and cognitive interviewing. A 50% random sample of South Carolina restaurants were surveyed in summer 2007. Data were analyzed to develop a targeted food defense strategy with targeted messages for South Carolina for maximum impact. We developed brochures and a 10-minute DVD with food defense practices of high salience: low prevalence, high-impact potential, and low-resource needs. The DVD will be projected.

Lessons learned: Focused, highly salient educational messages can improve preparedness levels at the field level with minimum resource implications for restaurants. Both the survey and DVD will be made available by mail upon request.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
To discuss the essentials of developing a targeted educational program on food defense for restaurants

Keywords: Food Safety, Public Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a doctorally prepared researcher. I was the PI on this project and oversee the implementation of the project. Also, this project was conducted in collaboration with the SC Department of Health Official who is the second author.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.