Observed food safety practices in the summer food service program

Emily Vaterlaus-Patten, Michelle Alcorn, Tracee Watkins, Kerri Cole, Paola Paez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose/Objectives The purpose of this exploratory, observational study was three-fold: 1) Determine current food safety practices at Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) sites; 2) Identify types of food served at the sites and collect associated temperatures; and 3) Establish recommendations for food safety training in the SFSP. Methods Twenty-eight SFSP sites in seven states were observed during preparation, service, and clean-up to assess food safety practices. Before the study, researchers participated in a day and half training session which included a pilot test of the observation tools at school kitchens. Individuals completed the forms and in pairs they compared findings; final adjustments to the observation forms were made. Descriptive statistics were calculated using Excel. Results Twenty-five sites had at least one employee or volunteer who reported having had food safety training. Proper handwashing facilities were available and accessible at most preparation sites (n=21) and fewer service sites (n=15). Proper handwashing (n=14), glove changing (n=13), and thermometer use (n=10) were commonly out of compliance among observed sites. Application to Child Nutrition Professionals As the SFSP expands, assuring food safety is important to the success of the program. Overall improvement is needed in personal hygiene, time/temperature control, and cleaning/sanitizing practices. New program sponsors may benefit from careful planning with food safety in mind and should provide relevant food safety training to employees and volunteers. State agencies may assist sponsors in meeting food safety training needs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
JournalJournal of Child Nutrition & Management
StatePublished - Apr 2017


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