Date of Conferral
Food-borne illnesses are responsible for disease globally. One of the most important strategies for combating food-borne diseases is the training of food handlers. Using social cognition theory as a framework, the purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness of the mandatory training program for food handlers in a rural parish in Jamaica. A cross-sectional survey, using self-administered questionnaires, was used to assess and compare food safety knowledge and self-reported practices of food handlers trained in 2 government training programs, while using untrained food handlers as controls. Descriptive and inferential statistics such as t test, chi-square test, and ANOVA were used to explore relationships between training and knowledge and practice. According to study results, trained food handlers had a statistically significant higher mean knowledge score (65.61% vs. 59.0%, p < 0.05) and mean practice score (67.40% vs. 60.35%, p < 0.05) than untrained food handlers, although these scores were significantly lower than the minimum acceptable standards of 70%. Results of this study may assist policy makers in designing effective training programs for food handlers, which should ultimately lead to a safer food supply for the consuming public and a reduction in food-borne disease outbreaks in Jamaica.