Development and Evaluation of an Online Food Safety Course for Artisan Cheesemakers in the United States
With over 90 U.S. outbreaks dating back to 1998 that were linked to cheese products, cheese processors in the United States are an important node for food safety. Awareness of food safety best practices and complying with regulations has been identified as a need by many cheese safety experts. In response, an online “Food Safety Basics for Artisan Cheesemakers” course was developed for a national audience by following the principles of instructional design. Over 800 participants registered for the course within the first year, 30% of whom (248) completed the course. Participants’ reactions to the course and self-reported knowledge gain was measured as were attitudes, self-efficacies, intentions, and self-reported changes in their food safety practices. Of the 128 participants who completed an evaluation of the course, 97% (124) reported that they were satisfied with course relevance and overall quality. Sixteen participants completed a follow-up questionnaire 1 month after completing the course in which they were asked to what extent they changed their food safety practices. On average, 42% reported that they either have already changed or intend to update their food safety practices in the future based on what they learned in the course.
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