Food safety is a growing concern in the United States. Foodborne outbreaks related to the food service industry are especially of concern as Americans continue to patronize such businesses in increasing numbers. As many of the root causes of foodborne illness outbreaks have been traced to worker illness and poor food handling practices, knowledge and training is essential to ensure foods are served safely.ServSafe<sup>TM</sup> is the most widely utilized food safety-training course in the United States. Originally, it was an instructor-led training offered in class but in the last few years, it has been offered through on-line training as well. Numerous studies have documented comparable outcomes from web-based and traditional classroom instruction. Because of its revalence, we were interested to evaluate the effectiveness of on-line training in comparison to in-class training. The purpose of this study was to examine influence of demographic characteristics and delivery methods on food safety knowledge using on-line and in-class training scores. In addition, we also examined self-reported evaluations after ServSafe<sup>TM</sup> training in Minnesota in 2010 and 2011. Based on data gathered, when comparing the on-line to in-class mode of training, there was no significant difference (at p-value of 0.05) between in-class and on-line instruction with respect to total exam scores and 10 domains, except in the "Temperature Measuring Devices" (D5) content area. On-line participants appeared to perform better in that area (D5) with an average score of 90% compared to in-class participants with average score of 83%. Participants' performance in different locations (cities) did not show a significant difference with respect to total exam score and 10 domains. No significant interaction (p-value at 0.05%) was noticed between mode of training (on-line and in-class) and cities where participants took the training when we looked at all cities combined. However, when mode of instruction was considered in every single city, a significant difference was noticed. Participants in St.Paul showed better performance in in-class training (93%) than in on-line training (88%) in "Monitoring Food Personnel"(D4) content area. Participants in Rochester performed better in in-class (98%) compared to on-line training (93%) in "Training Employees" (D10). There was no in-class training in Andover and Grand Marais and no on-line training in Grand Rapids. Thus, there was not sufficient data to be able to compare the mode of instruction in those cities. There was no interaction between mode of training and gender; meaning that effect of on-line and in-class training did not vary by gender. However, an interaction was noticed between males and females in St.Cloud, Marshall, Bemidji, and Little Falls (p-value at 5%).
University of Minnesota M.S. thesis. May 2014. Major: Food science. Advisor: Joellen M. Feirtag. 1 computer file (PDF); iv, 89 pages.
Influence of Demographic Characteristics, Delivery Methods, and Self-Reported Evaluations on Food Safety Knowledge after ServSafe<sup>TM</sup> Training in Minnesota (2010-2011).
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