Disclosing inspection results at point-of-service: Affect of characteristics of food establishment inspection programs on foodborne illness outcomes

Thuy N. Kim, Melanie J. Firestone, Natasha Dejarnett, Laura Wildey, Jesse C. Bliss, David T. Dyjack, Jennifer Edwards, Harlan Stueven, Craig W. Hedberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The significant proportion of foodborne illnesses attributed to restaurants highlights the importance of food establishment inspections. The objectives of this cross-sectional study were to characterize local inspection programs and evaluate the effects of programmatic characteristics, such as active public disclosure of inspection results, on select operational and foodborne illness outcomes. Between January 7 and April 6, 2020, an online 36-question survey was administered to 790 government-run food establishment inspection programs at state and local levels. Of 149 survey respondents, 127 (85%) represented local food establishment inspection agencies. Agencies that disclosed at the point-of-service reported fewer mean numbers of re-inspections by 15%, foodborne illness complaints by 38%, outbreaks by 55% (p = .03), and Salmonella cases by 12% than agencies that disclosed online only. Agencies that used some type of grading method for inspection results reported fewer mean numbers of re-inspections by 37%, complaints by 22%, outbreaks by 61%, and Salmonella cases by 25% than agencies that did not grade inspections. Programmatic characteristics appear to be associated with foodborne illness outcomes. These results warrant future research to improve the effectiveness of food establishment inspection programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-13
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Environmental Health
Volume83
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements: This study was funded through cooperative agreement 6NU38OT 000300 between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA). The findings and conclusions are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of CDC and NEHA.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, National Environmental Health Association. All rights reserved.

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