The impact of foodservice manager credentialing on food safety knowledge and health inspection scores

Mary Margaret Binkley, Purdue University


When consumers dine in restaurants they have the right to expect the food they consume is healthy, wholesome, and free from contaminants. One of the best ways to protect the public from foodborne illnesses is through the restaurant inspection process. Even though this process can vary from state to state and county to county, the basic elements of the inspection process are usually consistent. Many studies have shown food safety knowledge and manager certification have translated into better health inspection scores and fewer cases of foodborne illness. Other studies have shown no such improvement while still others have shown certification leads to improved knowledge but has no effect on health inspection scores. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of foodservice manager credentialing and knowledge and how it related to health inspection scores. The study was conducted by surveying 4788 foodservice managers from 8 states and 28 counties at the time of the routine health inspection. The questionnaire was divided into three sections, the first gathered information concerning the manager, the second presented 12 scenarios to gauge food safety knowledge, and the third gathered information concerning the foodservice establishment. Data were analyzed to determine if there were any relationships between inspection scores and food safety knowledge scores. Additionally, correlations and regression analysis were used to examine relationships between credentialing, knowledge, training method and certification program. The results of the study showed that certification program and training method do have an impact on the level of food safety knowledge of the foodservice manager. The study showed that managers who were certified were more knowledgeable in food safety practices, but this knowledge did not transfer over to better health inspection scores. The study found no significant relationship between knowledge as measured by the survey and inspection scores. Clearly certifying foodservice managers is not enough to keep food safe. A way must be found to convert knowledge gained through certification into practice.




Nelson, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Food science|Public health

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