- 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: 042-01
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