Purpose: This study assessed FDA food safety risk factors observed at temporary food establishments in North Carolina.
Methods: Risk factor data were collected during non-regulatory visits by local health officials. Data collectors observed and documented behaviors for 43 operational risk factors associated with foodborne illness at 59 establishments. Risk factors were divided into 13 categories. Descriptive statistics were generated by category and eating establishment to assess the extent of non-compliance.
Results: The majority of establishments (88%) were out of compliance for at least one risk factor. The mean rate of overall noncompliance was 14.5% of risk factors. A total of 19.7% of establishments were out of compliance with factors related to employee hygiene, while 24.5% were out of compliance related to proper holding temperature, and 14.3% engaged in practices that could result in cross-contamination. A total of 71% of establishments had a certified food protection manager on staff.
Significance: Given the increase in temporary eating establishments throughout the United States, identifying trends in food safety practices and behaviors is critical to developing intervention strategies and evaluating policy.