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IFT Poster Presentation: Evaluation of facilities and food safety practices in the North Carolina farmers market sector

  • Information on Poster Presentation

Session Title: Quality Assurance Division Poster Session – FOOD SAFETY & DEFENSE TRACK
Session Time:
6/12/2011 12:00 PM- 2:00 PM
Presentation Title:
Evaluation of facilities and food safety practices in the North Carolina farmers’ market sector
Presentation Number:

  • Abstract

The association between produce and ready-to-eat foods with foodborne illness prompts concern in the North Carolina farmers’ market sector. Since large amounts of produce are sold at farmers’ markets, there is an increased need to protect the farmers’ market sector from foodborne illness.  Considering this potential, we designed a method of assessment to measure the food safety culture and awareness of farmers’ market vendors.  The objective of this study was to observe the practices carried out at a farmers’ market in order to assess the need for food safety training and information directed specifically toward the promotion of good food safety practices at farmers’ markets. The study used 20 secret shoppers, trained to observe and collect quantitative and qualitative data through observational surveys.  During the 2010 market season, secret shoppers provided information that was neither incriminating nor praiseworthy from 37 farmers’ markets and 168 farmers’ market vendors, representing a large sample of North Carolina markets.  The information was provided through observational surveys and results were estimated through analysis of survey data.  The survey data was used to create trends and relationships to assess the food safety knowledge and practices carried out at a farmers’ market.  Our findings highlight the need for food safety improvement in areas such as cross-contamination, hygiene, sanitation, sampling, claims, and storage.  Results provide a need for enhancement of food safety at the farmers’ markets in order to protect the farmers’ market sector from being linked to foodborne illness outbreaks. The overall goal of supporting the growth and health of the North Carolina farmers’ markets will continue to be supported through further assessment and education development.

  • Additional Materials

FM Secret Shopper Training

FM Data Collection Sheet


About Allison Smathers

Allison Smathers is a masters student at North Carolina State University studying food science with a focus in food safety. Allison’s activities outside of academia have better shaped her skills and outlook on the world of food safety. In present and future ambitions, Allison hopes to connect her skills with society needs in the field of applied food safety with the goal progressing global public health. Allison’s devotion to public service and experience help hone her passion for defeating hunger, improving agriculture practices, and ensuring good nutrition for all people. Allison anticipates careers with organizations such as the United State Agency of International Development, the Food and Agriculture Organization, and the World Food Programme.

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