A Food Safety Laboratory Curriculum Significantly Improves Knowledge, Behaviors,  Attitudes, and Handwashing Skills of Laboratory Personnel in East and South Africa

D. Ercan Oruc, S. Pokharel, A. J. Hirneisen, C. N. Cutter Biblographic citation: Food Protection Trends, vol. 41, no. 5, pp. 485-500, Sep 2021 Volume 41, Issue 5: Pages 485–500

In 2017, a needs assessment conducted in Africa reported that personnel in food safety testing laborato-ries have deficiencies in lab safety, quality assurance, validation of test methods, metrics, sampling protocols, management, accreditation, methodologies, data analy-ses, and interpretation. The purpose of this study was to develop and deliver a curriculum on the basis of the identified needs for laboratory personnel in East Africa (Ethiopia, Uganda) and South Africa (Mozambique) and gauge the impact of the training on several attributes. Prior to and immediately after the workshop, laborato-ry personnel were evaluated for knowledge, behavior, attitudes, and handwashing skills. A significant increase was found in participants` knowledge, on the basis of the results of the pre- and posttests on the topics delivered by the curriculum (P ≤ 0.05). Additionally, behaviors of laboratory personnel positively changed concerning good laboratory practices and quality management systems and participants’ attitudes toward general laboratory practices, regulations, and understanding of continuous training improved significantly. Moreover, handwashing skills were significantly improved after the workshop. This curriculum and results may be used to develop continuous education programs for personnel of food testing labora-tories to enhance the safety of a global food supply.

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