The researchers did a telephone survey, similar to that performed by the artisan cheese researchers mentioned previously, and looked at worker's knowledge and attitudes about food safety, as well as their (self-reported) hand washing practices. It's worth noting, before we get too far in, that in 2013, once you took FOODSAFE, you were certified for life. There was no expiry date on the certification, and no upgrades or re-training was required.
Unsurprisingly, the research found that workers with FOODSAFE training had scores that were "significantly higher" than untrained workers, and that they also had "significantly better hand washing practices". They also found that after 15 years of being certified, knowledge scores "significantly decreased". It's worth noting that this study interviewed nearly 700 individuals to achieve their data, as compared to the relatively low "n" value of the artisan cheese study.
|Linear regression model showing years since |
FOODSAFE taken (McIntyre, et al. 2013)
The study results mimic what other research has shown: specific, formal, food handling education increases the skills and abilities of workers to provide safe food to consumers. However, it also shows that just giving the education isn't enough to maintain the knowledge base; there is no "set it and forget it" approach that will maintain public health. When considering the quandary of the Nigerians, and their demonstrated need for food handling and hygiene training for street vendors, it's worth keeping the need for recurring training in mind. Granted, one-off training is better than nothing, but it's clearly not the best approach.
Source: McIntyre, L., Vallaster, L., Wilcott, L., Henderson, S.B., Kosatsky, T. (2013). Evaluation of food safety knowledge, attitudes and self-reported hand washing practices in FOODSAFE trained and untrained food handlers in British Columbia, Canada. Food Control, 30, 150-156.