P3-151 Food Safety Risks in Restaurants and School Foodservice Establishments: An Investigation of Health Inspection Reports

Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Exhibit Hall (Charlotte Convention Center)
Junehee Kwon, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS
Kevin Roberts, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS
Kevin Sauer, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS
Introduction: Daily, schools provide meals to over 31 million children while restaurants serve approximately 198 million customers. Restaurants are the first, and schools are the third leading settings for foodborne illness outbreaks. Health inspection reports provide relevant insight about food safety challenges in these settings. 

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to identify food safety risks and needs for behavior change in restaurant and school foodservice operations. 

Methods: Health inspection reports for all 2,511 schools and 2,624 randomly selected restaurants in Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island were obtained. Violations were coded as critical and/or behavioral and grouped into one of 30 categories based on the model food code. The number of total, critical, and behavioral violations were calculated and compared between restaurants and schools using t-tests. Odds ratios evaluated the likelihood a specific violation type would occur. 

Results: The number of total, behavioral, and critical violations was greater in restaurants than schools (P < 0.001). Odds ratios revealed that restaurants were 3.6 times and 3.0 times more likely than schools to be cited for behavioral violations and critical violations, respectively. Restaurants had more behavioral violations in most categories, including “Single-use gloves and bare hand contact” and “Protecting food from contamination”. Schools had more behavioral violations for “Ware washing” and “Garbage/recycling facility maintenance”. Schools and restaurants were not different for “Approved food sources”, “Display of valid permits and consumer advisories”, “Cooling”, and “Use of thermometers and test kits”. The primary challenges for schools were equipment and facility maintenance issues possibly due to the age of facilities, which are less likely to cause foodborne illnesses (i.e., “Premises & equipment maintenance” and “Plumbing & adequate toilet facilities”). 

Significance: Our data revealed that distinct food safety challenges exist in schools and restaurants. These results provide guidance for behavior change and facility maintenance needed at these operations.