229921 Analysis of food safety and sanitation risks in urban retail food markets

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Maria Middleton , School of Public Health, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA
Renata Jacob , Department of Biology, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA
Alison A. Evans, ScD , School of Public Health, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA
Jennifer J. Quinlan, PhD , College of Nursing and Health Professions, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA
There is evidence that individuals of low socioeconomic status (SES) and minority groups suffer greater rates of foodborne illness. Previous research has also indicated that these populations have different retail access to food than high SES populations. This study involved the development and implementation of a scored audit tool which can be utilized by researchers to assess for food safety risks in retail facilities. Retail food stores (300) were identified using two databases. The audit tool consisted of a series of 17 questions which 2 trained auditors completed upon leaving each facility. Questions were based on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Food Code. Based on the number of potentially unsafe practices observed, stores were identified as either “Low Risk”, “Moderate Risk” or “High Risk”. Sixty-five percent of facilities in low SES neighborhoods were rated as Moderate Risk and 35% were rated as Low Risk. In high SES neighborhoods 26% of facilities were Moderate Risk and 74% were Low Risk. While facilities in Caucasian and African American neighborhoods showed similar results (51% and 49% as Moderate Risk, respectively), 55% of facilities in Hispanic neighborhoods were Moderate Risk. Facilities in Asian neighborhoods were found to have 2.2% High Risk and 56% Moderate Risk. These results indicate that individuals of low SES and some minority racial/ethnic background may face increased risks for foodborne illness at the retail level. The results also demonstrate the feasibility of assessing retail risks for foodborne illness using trained observers and the audit tool developed in this research.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Environmental health sciences
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify minority and at risk populations which may be at greater risk for foodborne illness based on retail food access. 2. Explain why minority populations may experience increased rates of foodborne illness. 3. Assess risks for foodborne illness in their own communities using the tool developed in this research.

Keywords: Food Safety, Minority Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conduct USDA funded research in this area and am an Assitant Professor, Dept. of Nutrition Sciences at Drexel University.
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.