Risk Factors for Foodborne Illness in Temporary Eating Establishments in North Carolina

Ellen Thomas Shumaker, Irene Doherty, Samantha Sifleet, Benjamin Chapman, Andre Pierce, Melissa Ham, Barbara Kowalcyk

Biblographic citation: Food Protection Trends, vol. 39, no. 3, pp. 218-224, May 2019

Volume 39, Issue 3: Pages 218–224

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Food service at temporary eating establishments such as those found at festivals, fairs and carnivals is a large part of the American diet. The food safety requirements of such establishments generally align with “brick and mortar” establishment requirements, which are specified by the FDA in the model food code and adopted by states. The primary difference relates to allowing for the use of domestic equipment. These temporary establishments face unique food safety challenges, including the simple challenge of planning an inspection during operation, because of their restricted time of operation. Little literature exists on risk factors to help these establishments and the agencies that regulate them set priorities on where to focus intervention and mitigation strategies. To help fill this gap, this study measured the occurrence of food safety risk factors at temporary eating establishments in North Carolina. Of the 59 establishments, 88% were out of compliance for at least one of the relevant risk factors. A total of 73 observed actions were out of compliance with regard to employee hygiene, while 41 were out of compliance with regard to proper holding temperature, and 35 events were identified as practices that could result in cross-contamination. Given the increased number of temporary eating establishments throughout the U.S., identifying trends in food safety behaviors at such establishments is important to the development of intervention strategies.

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