A recent study has been conducted in Ireland titled: A study of food safety knowledge, practice training among food handlers in Ireland by Julie Gruenfeldova (formerly TU Dublin, currently Griffith University, Queensland Australia), Dr. Katarina Domijan (Maynooth University) and Dr. Ciara Walsh (TU Dublin).
This research was only published last week. I was delighted to assist Julie with this research and I am excited to share the findings on food safety knowledge in Ireland with you. There were a lot of very interesting results and it was recommended that trainers should focus on the identified gaps. Here at Choice Training & Consultancy we will definitely use the recommendations to enhance our training material.
The overall knowledge score of food handlers working food service sector in Ireland was 73%, which is in line with other European studies. The study highlighted the importance of food safety training and noted there is still 28% of food handlers working in the food service sector in Ireland that have never received food safety training.
It was interesting to see that staff working in canteens were found to have the highest knowledge score (81%), the highest percentage of level 3 training (60%) and the absence of training only accounted for 1%. This is a great result and canteens/institutional catering should be commended for their commitment to food safety. On the other hand, bars were found to have the lowest knowledge score (65%), the lowest percentage of level 3 training (5%) and reported the highest level of ‘never’ having received food safety training (61%).
Respondents were asked a series of questions relating to operational prerequisite hygiene requirements such as working while unwell, critical limits, food allergens and hand hygiene. This for me was the most interesting part. I must say I was a little surprised. One in 10 food handlers do not feel compelled to wash their hands every time they go to the toilet and think it is acceptable to work while unwell with diarrhoea. Awareness of temperatures such as refrigeration, cooking hot holding etc. was low as was allergen awareness, only 16% of respondents could list each of the 14 named allergens highlighting the importance of allergen training.
The full findings of the research, Food Safety Knowledge in Ireland can be found by Clicking Here. Open access for 50 days.
Thank you to Julie for sharing a summary of her results with us. Over all, while the standards are in line with other European countries, Ireland prides itself on serving safe food and the gaps in training should certainly be a focus of food business operators. If you would like more information about filling these gaps in Food Safety Knowledge.