Should Weights and Risk Categories Be Used for Inspection Scores To Evaluate Food Safety in Restaurants?
da Cunha, Diogo Thimoteo
de Rosso, Veridiana Vera [UNIFESP]
Stedefeldt, Elke [UNIFESP]
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The objective of this study was to verify the characteristics of food safety inspections, considering risk categories and binary scores. A cross-sectional study was performed with 439 restaurants in 43 Brazilian cities. A food safety checklist with 177 items was applied to the food service establishments. These items were classified into four groups (R1 to R4) according to the main factors that can cause outbreaks involving food: R1, time and temperature aspects; R2, direct contamination; R3, water conditions and raw material; and R4, indirect contamination (i.e., structures and buildings). A score adjusted for 100 was calculated for the overall violation score and the violation score for each risk category. The average violation score (standard deviation) was 18.9% (16.0), with an amplitude of 0.0 to 76.7%. Restaurants with a low overall violation score (approximately 20%) presented a high number of violations from the R1 and R2 groups, representing the most risky violations. Practical solutions to minimize this evaluation bias were discussed. Food safety evaluation should use weighted scores and be risk-based. However, some precautions must be taken by researchers, health inspectors, and health surveillance departments to develop an adequate and reliable instrument.
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