A training course on food hygiene for butchers: Measuring its effectiveness through microbiological analysis and the use of an inspection checklist

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Vaz, Maria Luisa Santomauro [UNIFESP]
Novo, Neil Ferreira [UNIFESP]
Sigulem, Dirce Maria [UNIFESP]
Morais, Tania Beninga [UNIFESP]
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The effectiveness of food hygiene training for a group of retail butchers was evaluated with the aim of verifying whether the butchers modified their behavior in the light of knowledge gained and whether their acquired knowledge or behavior change was sustained over a period of time. Microbiological analysis (enumeration of mesophilic and coliform bacteria and Escherichia coli) of a raw semiprocessed product (stuffed rolled beef) was conducted, and an inspection checklist was issued before the training course (T0). Initial results were later compared with results obtained 1 month (T1) and 6 months (T6) after the training. The checklist comprised 89 items classified into five categories: A, approved suppliers and product reception; B, storage conditions and temperature control; C, flow process, food handling procedures, and conditions of the window display unit; D, facility design and proper cleaning and sanitizing of equipment, utensils, and work surfaces; and E, pest control system, water supply control, and garbage disposal. The inspection results were recorded as yes or no for each item. Compliance with food safety procedures was recorded as the percentage of yes answers. The bacterial counts were significantly higher at T0. At T6, there was no significant increase in bacterial counts. There was a significant improvement in food safety practices at T1 and T6 compared with T0 for all categories. When comparing T0 and T1, the largest increases in the compliance scores were seen within categories C and D. No significant decrease in scores for compliance with food safety practices was observed at T6. Supervision and refresher activities may be necessary to maintain behavioral changes for a longer period of time.
Journal Of Food Protection. Des Moines: Int Assoc Food Protection, v. 68, n. 11, p. 2439-2442, 2005.