Certified Kitchen Managers: Do they improve restaurant inspection outcomes?
Restaurants are associated with a significant number of foodborne illness outbreaks in the United States. Certification of kitchen managers through an accredited training and testing program may help improve food safety practices and thus prevent foodborne illness. In this study, relationships between the results of routine restaurant inspections and the presence of a certified kitchen manager (CKM) were examined. We analyzed data for 4,461 restaurants in Iowa that were inspected during 2005 and 2006 (8,338 total inspections). Using logistic regression analysis, we modeled the outcome variable (0 = no critical violations [CVs]; 1 = one or more CVs) as a function of presence or absence of a CKM and other explanatory variables. We estimated separate models for seven inspection categories. Restaurants with a CKM present during inspection were less likely to have a CV for personnel (P < 0.01), food source or handling (P < 0.01), facility or equipment requirements (P < 0.05), warewashing (P < 0.10), and other operations (P < 0.10). However, restaurants with a CKM present during inspection were equally likely to have a CV for temperature or time control and plumbing, water, or sewage as were restaurants without a CKM present. Analyses by type of violation within the temperature and time control category revealed that restaurants with a CKM present during inspection were less likely to have a CV for hot holding (P < 0.05), but the presence of a CKM did not affect other types of temperature and time control violations. Our analyses suggest that the presence of a CKM is protective for most types of CVs, and we identify areas for improving training of CKMs.