Incorporating multiple teaching techniques into food safety education



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Kansas State University


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 48% of known, single-setting foodborne illness outbreaks were caused by food consumed in restaurants. The lack of food handler training and knowledge of food safety concepts is a contributing factor to the continued occurrence of foodborne illness outbreaks. This report concerns food handler training undertaken with a goal of incorporating teaching techniques other than “stand and deliver” presentations to restaurant employees in the Kansas City, Kansas Metro area. Differing messaging concepts such as discussion, role playing, and hands-on segments were used. Training took place in classroom settings as well as commercial kitchen laboratories, including a working restaurant hot-food preparation line. Participants included restaurant owners, managers, as well as front and back of the house employees. Some had completed other food safety training in the past, while others had no formal food safety training. The food safety knowledge of the participants was determined in a pre-test administered just before the training session started, with the average score being 63%. The sessions began with a slide presentation and discussion of current best practices in safe food handling, followed by two hours of kitchen lab time, in which the participants rotated through several demonstration and practice stations. Areas of emphasis during the hands-on sessions were hand washing, cooling and reheating of food, proper thermometer use, and sanitizer use. Special focus was given to mimicking a hot food preparation line where employees had to handle potentially hazardous foods such as raw hamburger, and then work with ready-to-eat foods in the same area. The participants finished the training with a multiple-choice test (a score of 75% was required for recognition of the training), followed by a discussion of the test questions. The average score after training was 76%. At all times participants were encouraged to ask questions that would address specific challenges in their respective restaurants. Participants were given a post-training course evaluation to gauge acceptance of the training. Results showed strong appreciation and preference for the hands-on segments and the inclusion of industry experts as presenters. Overall, post-test scores increased by 13.6% compared to the pre-test scores. The improvement of test scores was significant (P<0.0001) indicating that the training was successful in training restaurant managers, owners, and employees about food safety practices.



Food Science, Education, Food Safety

Graduation Month



Master of Science


Food Science Institute

Major Professor

Weiqun Wang