Purpose: This investigation determined the feasibility of using VO to evaluate food handler HH practices in FDMPBs.
Methods: In-depth interviews with FDMPB managers/technical supervisors (n=11) identified HH protocols, training procedures, and acceptability of conducting VO to assess HH compliance. Twenty-four hours of footage was observed to evaluate HH compliance in a bakery. Detailed observations for HH opportunities were recorded, specifying hand decontamination component actions.
Results: FDMPBs had unique HH protocols with variable details. Interviews identified positive attitude towards using VO to assess HH compliance. Although FDMPBs had cameras recording activity, none had the resource/time to conduct frequent/structured observation of footage. Observational findings indicated that of 674 instances, when food handlers entered production, 70 failed to attempt HH practices. Of 604 attempts to implement HH practices, only 2% were compliant with FDMPB protocol. Although 78% utilized soap, only 45% wetted hands first. Less than half (42%) utilized sanitiser. Malpractices included drying hands on overalls (9%). HH duration ranged from 1s–69s (median 17s).
Significance: VO data provided an in-depth insight into HH compliance when entering production and, thus, illustrated a valuable and useful resource for FDMPBs. Extensive numbers of HH malpractices were observed that were contrary to FDMPB policy and may compromise food-safety during food production. The case study identified site-specific issues to inform the development of an intervention to improve HH practices.