Food Safety Issues and Information Needs: An Online Survey of Public Health Inspectors

In the study described in this article, the authors investigated the perceptions and needs of public health inspectors (PHIs) in the province of Ontario, Canada, with regard to food safety issues and information resources. A cross-sectional online survey of 239 Ontario PHIs was conducted between April and June 2009. Questions pertained to their perceptions of key food safety issues and foodborne pathogens, knowledge confidence, available resources, and resource needs. All respondents rated time-temperature abuse, inadequate hand washing, and cross contamination as important food safety issues. Salmonella, Campylobacter, and E. coli O157:H7 were pathogens reported to be of concern to 95% of respondents (221/233). Most respondents indicated that they were confident in their knowledge of food safety issues and foodborne pathogens, but wanted a central, online resource for food safety information and ongoing food safety education training for PHIs. The data from the authors' study can be used in the development of information resources targeted to the needs of PHIs involved in food safety.

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