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Title:Using key informant interviews to better understand differences in how local health departments inspect school share tables
Author(s):Kassuelke, Jessica
Advisor(s):Prescott, Melissa P.
Contributor(s):Stasiewicz, Matthew J.; Miller, Michael J.
Department / Program:Food Science & Human Nutrition
Discipline:Food Science & Human Nutrition
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Food Recovery
Share Table
Food Safety
Food Policy
School Nutrition
Abstract:Food waste squanders many natural resources, which is problematic with an already prevalent food insecure population. In the US, eleven million children live in food-insecure homes. Food recovery methods such as share tables, places where children place unconsumed school food and beverage items that they choose not to eat, allow opportunities for their uneaten food items to be “shared” with other students or donated to food pantries, re-serviced, or used as a cooked ingredient for future meals. The literature review included peer-reviewed papers from multiple disciplines. These sources were evaluated to determine the current public perception of waste, consumer food safety knowledge, and policy regulations. Previous research shows that food safety may act as a competing priority with food recovery in a foodservice setting, especially when vulnerable populations, such as children, are involved. The Food and Drug Administrative (FDA) Food Code serves as a model code to help prevent foodborne illness. Yet, the Food Code can vary by version adopted, creating inconsistent standards across federal, state, and local levels. Food safety issues could potentially create stricter policies in the future, whereas lenient policies may facilitate more food recovery via share tables. The review demonstrates a need for additional research on the food safety risks of food recovery in a foodservice setting. A qualitative study was conducted to understand what drives differences in health inspector interpretations of the Food Code as it relates to share tables. A snowball sample technique was used to recruit local Illinois health inspectors (n=13) to answer interview questions on share table operations. Four scenario questions were asked on the perceived risk of placing a whole apple and milk on a share table, and the perceived risk of donating or re-serving leftover share tables items. Telephone interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. The transcripts were coded using inductive content analysis. The results showed that health inspectors viewed hand contamination as the primary risk factor for foodborne illness. All inspectors saw temperature abuse as a concern but were more associated with spoilage issues. Health inspectors had the lowest degree of consensus on whole apple recovery and re-service of unclaimed share table items, which may stem from varying interpretations of the Food Code. The different interpretations suggest a need for a future risk assessment to develop a data-driven strategy to assess and manage the microbial risk presented by share table operations to help clarify regulations. Based on this study, the risk assessment should focus on hand contamination during share table operations, hazard amplification risks, spoilage due to time-temperature fluctuations, and the overall effect of interventions.
Issue Date:2020-12-07
Rights Information:Copyright 2020 Jessica Kassuelke
Date Available in IDEALS:2021-03-05
Date Deposited:2020-12

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