Date of Conferral
Public Policy and Administration
The retail food safety chain is vulnerable to deliberate contamination, yet food safety professionals and emergency managers typically respond to intentional contamination in different ways. Little is known about the practices of environmental health food safety professionals (EHFSP) as compared to emergency managers and whether those approaches can be combined to more successfully impede intentional food contamination. The purpose of this narrative policy analysis was to use routine activity theory to compare the narratives of EHFSPs and emergency managers to determine whether there are opportunities to better understand the relationship between vulnerability and resiliency of the retail food safety chain. Data were primarily collected through interviews with 5 EHFSPs and 5 emergency managers from various regions in the United States. Interview data were inductively coded and then subjected to Braun and Clarke's thematic analysis procedure. Key findings indicate that EHFSPs generally are ill-suited to meet resiliency goals, ambivalence voiced by EHFSPs results from a lack of continual preparedness training, and neither EHFSPs nor emergency management officials' familiarity with the social dimensions of resiliency is at a point where they can design adequate measures for a resilient retail food system. Therefore, recommendations to policy makers focus on a need for an enhanced training that is inspired by principles of emergency management so that they are better able to respond to acts of intentional contamination, thereby building a resilient retail food chain with economic and social benefits.