An investigation of the effect of awareness and knowledge on emergency planning for food service establishment operators
INTRODUCTION: Current legislative deficit could leave food service establishments without sufficient food safety plans allowing food safety standards to decline during emergencies and increasing risk for foodborne illness. Relevant research indicates there is likely to be a lack of planning and action and lack of accessible resources on the behalf of operators and governmental agencies respectively (Story, 2007). OBJECTIVES: The primary objective of this research was to elucidate the relationship between the dependent variable: food service establishment operator’s level of emergency planning and two independent variables: their level of knowledge and level of awareness. METHODS: A list of suitable candidates was generated using Yellowpages and potential candidates were randomly selected by numerical draw. These individuals were surveyed in person and this process was repeated until 30 contacts were acquired. The data was compiled in Excel for differential statistical analyses and SAS for Chi-squared testing for statistical significance. RESULTS: Chi-square testing indicated a p-value of >0.05 for both data sets; therefore, no association was found between both food operator’s knowledge and awareness and their level of emergency planning and both null hypotheses were rejected. Mean, median, and mode values were determined to fall within the neutral-high value for the ordinal scale. CONCLUSION: Neither awareness and knowledge had a statistically significant relationship to the level of the operator’s level of emergency planning. All tested categories were of neutral-high score values meaning the surveyed data did not find a deficiency in operator planning. These results could be indicative of error in survey design meaning further research on this topic will be necessary to determine a conclusive relationship between these variables.