P2-79 Evaluating the Self-perception of Skills and Roles of Third-party Food Safety Auditors in Grocery Stores

Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Exhibit Hall (Tampa Convention Center)
Natalie Seymour , North Carolina State University , Raleigh , NC
Kimberly Allen , North Carolina State University , Raleigh , NC
Eric Laber , North Carolina State University , Raleigh , NC
Benjamin Chapman , North Carolina State University , Raleigh , NC
Introduction: It is common for food companies to institute standard operating procedures based on the best available science that exceed regulatory requirements for food safety. Third-party auditors often evaluate these risk reduction procedures. A proposed strategy to increase adherence to operating procedures is to enable and support third-party auditors to deliver behavior change interventions during audits. However, no data exists on auditors’ self-perception of their roles and abilities.

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.