T2-02 Trends in Risk Factor Behaviors in Temporary Eating Establishments in North Carolina

Monday, August 1, 2016: 8:45 AM
242 (America's Center - St. Louis)
Ellen Thomas, RTI International, Raleigh, NC
Irene Doherty, RTI International, Raleigh, NC
Benjamin Chapman, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
Andre Pierce, Wake County Environmental Services, Raleigh, NC
Melissa Ham, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Hope Mills, NC
Barbara Kowalcyk, RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC
Introduction: Temporary eating establishments have increased in popularity and frequency throughout the United States over the past decade. These establishments face numerous food safety challenges, related to staff and infrastructure; however, little literature exists on the risk factors that occur most frequently in these establishments. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) publishes a model food code to aid state and local health authorities in regulating retail facilities based on current literature. FDA established a protocol for conducting a non-regulatory retail food risk factor study to measure the occurrence of commonly identified risk factors known to contribute to foodborne illness outbreaks. A similar study was conducted to identify risk factors for food safety non-compliance in temporary eating establishments in North Carolina. 

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.