<OL> <LI> Assess the food safety systems and back-of-the-house restaurant employee handwashing prevalence. <LI> Implement this site-specific management system to measure the ability of the Person-In-Charge (PIC) to raise handwashing frequency and establish a base for continuous improvement. <LI> Evaluate the efficacy of handwashing practices before and after an educational intervention. <LI> Determine employee handwashing intentions compared to practice using the theory of planned behavior.
NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: Inadequate hand hyiene practices are some of the most significant contributing factors to foodborne illnesses in retail food establishments including restaurants. The goal of this project is to determine the effectiveness of a hand hygiene education program to increase the amount of adequate hand hygiene practices in restaurants. The goal of this project is to develop a practical handwashing compliance system for retail and foodservice establishments to reduce the risk of cross contamination to food served to customers from poor hand hygiene. <P>APPROACH: This project will use quantitative and qualitative methods with microbiological analyses to evaluate hand hygiene practices in quick service and casual dining restaurants. A pre-test/post-test research design will be used the effectiveness of a hand hygiene education program in 40 quick service and family style restaurants. A customized hand hygiene compliance system will be developed for retail food operators based on an initial assessment of food handling practices, surveys of employee knowledge about handwashing and intentions to wash hands, hand hygiene, and microbiological analyses of food contact surfaces and employee hands. Employees' intentions to wash their hands will be compared to observational data assessing the efficacy of handwashing based of standards in the FDA Model Food Code using the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB). Handwashing educational sessions will be conducted in all establishments based on assessment data and the TPB. After these sessions, follow-up assessments of handwashing behavior based on observations and handwashing surveys will be done. Results will be compared to before and after the intervention. The long term impact of the educational intervention also will be evaluated. Overall results of the project will be used to refine the handwashing compliance system to improve the safety of food served to restaurant customers.