Online Program

Development and piloting of a food safety audit tool for the domestic kitchen

Monday, November 4, 2013

Patricia Borrusso, Department of Nutrition Sciences, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA
Jennifer J. Quinlan, PhD, Dept. of Nutrition Sciences, College of Nursing and Health Professions, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA
INTRODUCTION Research examining safe food handling by consumers has found that consumers do mishandle food in the home. There is, however, a lack of agreement as to the extent of mishandling between studies. A standardized audit tool to objectively evaluate risks in consumer's kitchens would allow for a better understanding of the risks most prevalent in the domestic kitchen.

METHODS An audit tool was developed to measure compliance with recommended sanitation, refrigeration and food storage conditions of food in the domestic kitchen. The tool was piloted by 4 researchers who visited 22 homes and independently completed the 53 question tool. Questions were evaluated for reliability using the Kappa Statistic. Questions that were not sufficiently reliable (Kappa < 0.6) or did not provide direct evidence of risk were revised or eliminated from the final tool.

RESULTS Piloting of the developed audit tool found good reliability among 18 questions, 6 questions were revised and 29 questions eliminated, resulting in the final 24 question tool. Piloting of the tool also found it to be effective in identifying food safety risks. Twenty –seven percent of homes had evidence of pest infestation. Seventy-three percent of refrigerators were kept above the correct temperature (41°F). Meat thermometers were present in only 4 of 22 homes and refrigerator thermometers were not found in any home.

DISCUSSION The audit tool developed here will provide an objective measure to better understand the most prevalent food safety risks in consumer's kitchens which may need to be addressed through consumer education outreach.

Learning Areas:

Environmental health sciences
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Explain the value of, and need for, an objective audit tool for safe food handling in the domestic environment. Identify common unsafe food handling conditions which may occur in the domestic environment.

Keyword(s): Food Safety, Consumer Protection

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a doctoral candidate in Biology at Drexel University conducting my dissertation research in the area of food microbiology and have been directly responsible for the research being presented here as part of my dissertation research.
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.