Assessment of sous vide knowledge and inspection/cooking practices
Background: In September 2014, BCCDC developed “Guidelines for Restaurant Sous Vide Cooking Safety in British Columbia” providing Environmental Health Officers (EHO) and sous vide cooking chefs safety knowledge about sous vide cooking. To assess whether the guidelines improved sous vide safety knowledge, a study was conducted to examine and compare knowledge differences between EHOs and chefs who had read the guidelines to those who had not read the guidelines. Methods: An online survey was created and advertised by publishing on the BCCDC website, in newsletters and magazines (Vancouver Costal Health newsletter, Fraser Health news Letter, Chefs Quarterly magazine), and through e-mail distribution lists to EHOs and chefs, including chefs at Vancouver Community College. The questions in this survey were developed based on the guide-lines. T-tests and Chi square analyses were conducted to assess knowledge difference between those who read the guidelines and those who did not. Results: A total of 65 people completed the survey, including 45 EHOs (69.3%), 15 chefs (23%), and 5 others (7.7%). EHOs who read the guidelines had significantly higher average knowledge scores in the multiple choice section of the sous vide safety knowledge survey (p=0.00028, t-test) when compared to EHOs who had never read the guidelines. No differences were found in the true and false section (p=0.43925, t-test). With regard to inspection practices, EHO who read the guide-lines were more likely to frequently check for the internal temperature of sous vide foods, water bath temperature, time/temperature in the recipes, calibration of thermometer and proper labels on sous vide pouched foods than EHOs who never read the guidelines. Chefs who read the guidelines had similar average score as chefs who never read the guidelines in T/F (p=0.79878, t-test) and multiple choice (p=0.97, t-test). With regard to cooking practice, chefs who read the guidelines were more likely to frequently calibrate thermometers than chefs who never read the guidelines. However, chefs who never read the guidelines were more likely to frequently find their sous vide pouch floating dur-ing the cooking process, to check for internal temperature of sous vide food, and to label their sous vide pouch properly. Conclusion: These results show that EHOs who have read the sous vide guidelines have better sous vide knowledge in comparison to EHOs who have never read the guidelines. They are also more likely to have overall better inspection practices. Nevertheless, results show chefs who read the guidelines have similar sous vide knowledge in comparison to chefs who never read the guidelines. In terms of cooking practices, these chefs are likely to have better cooking practices only in certain areas.