Knowledge levels of food handlers in Portuguese school canteens and their self-reported behaviour towards food safety
AbstractFood safety levels in school food services are an important concern, given that any incident can affect a high number of students. The purpose of this research was to evaluate food handlers' knowledge and self-reported behaviour as regards the safe handling of food in school canteens. The study was conducted in 32 school canteens and included 124 participants. Food handlers displayed a reasonable level of knowledge, particularly regarding personal hygiene and cross-contamination, but fared worse in other areas. The level of knowledge displayed was influenced by age, motivation and training. A high correctness in handlers' self-reported behaviour towards food safety was observed, with a negative trend appearing when workload was increased. Our assessment of prevailing knowledge levels indicates that food professionals need to be made significantly more aware of the importance their actions can have on children's health.