Effectiveness of public health interventions in food safety: a systematic review.
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PURPOSE: To summarize evidence on the effectiveness of public health interventions regarding food safety at restaurants, institutions, homes and other community-based settings. METHOD: This systematic review of published and unpublished studies involved a comprehensive literature search, screening for relevance, quality assessment of relevant studies, data extraction and synthesis. RESULTS: The interventions identified in 15 studies included in this review were grouped into three categories: inspections, food handler training, and community-based education. The evidence suggests that: routine inspection (at least once per year) of food service premises is effective in reducing the risk of foodborne illness; food handler training can improve the knowledge and practices of food handlers; and selected community-based education programs can increase public knowledge of food safety. DISCUSSION: There is some evidence for the effectiveness of multiple public health interventions on food safety. Future research needs include evaluation of HACCP and community-based education programs.
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