Factors Impacting Food Workers’ and Managers’ Safe Food Preparation Practices: A Qualitative Study
This study collected data on food workers’ self-reported food safety practices and beliefs about factors that impacted their ability to prepare food safely. Eleven focus groups were conducted with food service workers and managers in which they discussed their current implementation of seven food preparation practices (handwashing, hot holding, etc.), and the factors they believed impacted their safe implementation of those practices. Some participants reported unsafe food preparation practices, such as inappropriate glove use and not checking the temperatures of cooked, reheated, and cooled foods. Most participants, however, reported safe practices (e.g., washing their hands after preparing raw meat). Participants identified a number of factors that impacted their ability to prepare food safely, including time pressure; structural environments, equipment, and resources; management and coworker emphasis on food safety; worker characteristics; negative consequences for those who do not prepare food safely; food safety education and training; restaurant procedures; and glove and sanitizer use. Results suggest that food safety programs need to address the full range of factors that impact food preparation behaviors.