Purpose: The goal of this study was to characterize third-party auditors’ self-perception of job roles and skills, and attitudes relating to promoting food safety. This study also sought to identify whether auditors were currently providing interventions, methods they may use and perception of how intervention efforts are received.
Methods: A mixed-methods online survey was developed with questions targeting the attitudes towards roles of auditor, teacher, and coach; intervention strategies; and, importance of job activities. Auditors currently employed by a leading food safety auditing service provider were asked to participate via email. Data was analyzed with one-way analysis of variance and Tukey’s honest significance test to determine significant differences. Tests looked for frequency as well as differences based off experience or prior answer selection.
Results: Auditors more closely identify with the roles of teacher (91%, n=121) and coach (90%) but value activities of an auditor. Auditors report protecting public health and identifying problems as most important out of nine job activities, food safety knowledge was also a top priority. Ninety-two percent reported providing an intervention when observing non-compliant behavior; 46% pull from previous audits for interventions.
Significance: Results demonstrate auditors are confident in their abilities to explain food safety information and believe retail employees view them and their efforts positively. These attitudes lend to using these individuals to deliver real-time interventions to promote positive food safety behavior change.