Curriculum/Training Development


Building a Solid Food Safety Foundation for Home Kitchens: A Pilot Training Program for Illinois Cottage Food Producers

( Corine F. Peplinski )

Numerous states, including Illinois, have adopted Cottage Food Laws, allowing people to produce specific foods for sale at home with no regulatory oversight. However, many operators of home kitchens in Illinois are unaware of Cottage Food Laws. Those that are familiar with these laws, find that the required Certified Food Protection Manager food safety training designed for restaurants and other retail food establishments to be overly complicated given the differences between a commercial kitchen and a home kitchen. While several different organizations have produced training materials specific to understanding the current Cottage Food Law in Illinois, results from a recent study indicate that there are still questions about the finer points of the law. This project developed, delivered, and evaluated (pre- and post-tests) an educational training program designed for food-producing entrepreneurs operating out-of-home kitchens in Illinois. The post-test showed an average knowledge score of 93% and a home kitchen self-assessment rating of “excellent,” while the training evaluation showed participants had a positive reaction to the training. Future trainings would benefit from shortened videos organized by topic and the addition of food safety information surrounding canning and acidification.

The Effectiveness of a Food Safety Training Program for Company A

( W. McVeigh ) 2019 Mather Award Winner

As Americans continue to purchase food products from restaurants or ready-to-eat locations, the need for adequate employee food safety training is paramount to safeguard the health of Americans. Although Company A – a global retail beverage chain – has resources and tools to assist in food safety guidance for individual retailers, no comprehensive food safety training program is available for its hourly employees. To build the capabilities of its hourly employees regarding food safety standards and mitigate potential foodborne related risk at Company A, a food safety training program was created. The curriculum was designed to actively engage learners in the physical practice of the material to build their confidence in the material, generate discussions around the material, and increase knowledge retention. Ninety-six employees from four Company A chain stores in Middle Tennessee were evaluated using pre, during, and post curriculum survey/knowledge tests and unannounced performance audits. Overall, results indicated that participants improved their food safety knowledge and performance skills following the food safety training. Company A would benefit from implementing a similar training program for all its hourly employees; however, additional studies using a longitudinal approach to verify long-term knowledge retention and integration of the food safety concepts to the employees’ daily behaviors should be considered.

Beginner’s Food Safety Training for “Company X” Test Kitchen

( Anonymous )

There are several risk factors that can contribute to foodborne illness in the kitchen environment, including poor personal hygiene, inadequate cooking of food, improper holding of food, and contaminated equipment. Company X’s test kitchen, where food is prepared strictly for purposes of recipe testing and/or physical and organoleptic evaluation, and likely consumption by select company employees, is not immune to these same risk factors. However, most individuals who prepare food in Company X’s test kitchen do not have any prior food safety training. To address this opportunity, food safety training was developed and executed, with the goal of providing personnel with the basic food safety knowledge they need to protect themselves, others, and the test kitchen environment from potential food safety risks. The training was based in science and the most current methods proven effective in keeping food safe in the kitchen environment and evaluated using the Kirkpatrick Four-Level Training Evaluation Model which included pre and post training testing of the employees. Although no differences were observed in pre and post training assessments for all variables, including years of food handling experience, the mean pre-training assessment scores were significantly higher for individuals previously trained in food safety. It is recommended that Company X adopt this training curriculum on a permanent basis and modify its contents as needed.