Analysis and Interpretation of Impact Data of Teaching a Curriculum for Food Service Food Safety Education to High School Students
About one-third of employed youth 15-17 years of age work in food service. More than 70% of high school students work in food service as their first job. Increasingly the foods Americans eat are prepared by others, via a variety of food service formats. Almost half of the total food expenditures in 2010 were spent on food away from home . Although the source of most foodborne disease outbreaks cannot be determined, data from cases where etiology is identified indicate about 43% occur at delis, cafeterias or restaurants. It is important to food service establishment customers and owners that the youth employed are well trained in food safety procedures and perform well on the job. In Idaho, food service food safety instruction for high school students is provided by approximately 70 high school teachers and four UI Extension FCS Educators who
teach the UI Extension curriculum, Ready, Set Food Safe . Some training for high school students working in food service is also provided by their food service employers; the extent of this training varies with the company's policies and resources. Although the Environmental Sanitarians in Idaho's Health Districts provide food service food safety training, they do not have time to provide this training in high schools. Ready, Set Food Safe has been offered in Idaho since 2002 and has issued Idaho Department of Health and Welfare-approved food safety and sanitation certificates (aka food handlers' cards) to 13,333 high school students who have passed the certification test. Our 2006-2012 Hatch project, Impact Evaluation of Teaching a Curriculum for Food Service Food Safety Education to High School Students, has collected data to evaluate the impact of this program in improving food safety
behaviors of high school students. Self-report, written statements from 1744 students who have completed the Ready, Set Food Safe curriculum over the period 2006-2011, identify knowledge items, attitudes and behaviors that the students have learned and applied. The project is also conducting phone (or in person) interviews with 20 students who have taken Ready, Set Food Safe and who work in food service jobs to determine how the curriculum has aided them. Interviews with the employed students' food service supervisor are also collected, when possible. The collection of this evaluation data (student statements, case study response, and student interviews) will allow us to identify the value of this program to stakeholders. Documentation of improved food safety practices among high school age food handlers will validate our investment to deliver this program, will increase confidence in
the program for food service providers, and will inform Idaho food service patrons of safer food.