A study of knowledge, attitudes and behaviour with regard to food safety, in the Welsh hospitality and catering industry
Foodborne illnesses respresent a serious threat to health. The World Health Organisation (2000) recently passed a Resolution stating that "... foodborne illness associated with microbial pathogens, biotoxins and chemical contaminants in food present a serious threat to the health of millions of people in the world (p.1)". Overall notifications of foodborne illness and food poisoning have risen significantly and many outbreaks have been associated with the food industry. The Hospitality and Catering industry is of special concern because of it's size, diversity, individual characteristics, and direct interface with customers. This thesis focuses upon the Hospitality and Catering industry in Wales, a largely unexplored area of research. It applies an investigate approach to issues relating to the management and implementation of food safety in the industry across a range of industry sectors to be found in the Principality. Information was gathered by utlising a range of secondary and primary sources. Data collection instruments included questionnaires, structured interviews, and audit checklists and observations. These were administered by way of three discrete but interlinked primary data collection investigations. Both quantitative and qualitative data were obtained. Participating industry personnel included proprietors, managers and food handlers. Via a literature review, the key issues of knowledge, attitudes and behaviour related to food safety are discussed and evaluated within the contexts of the inherent characteristics of the Hospitality and Catering industry and food safety legislation. There three investigations are presented individually and the findings are consolidated in a synoptic discussion in relation to the Aims of the thesis. The findings indicated that within the Welsh Hospitality and Catering industry levels of knowledge and attitudes with regard to food safety and food safety legislation were variable and in some instances, unsatisfactory. In many instances, intentions to act in a positive manner towards the implementation of food safety precautions were not reflected in actual behaviour. It was further found that in establishments of all sizes and ownership categories, food handling practices were variable and in many cases, unsafe. Recommendations are made based upon the results obtained and discussed in this thesis.