|Alberta Workforce Essential Skills (AWES)||Impact Study: Essential Skills and Food Sanitation and Hygiene Training|
Key findings, derived from a variety of sources, are drawn primarily from case studies conducted in eleven food operations. Additional data was obtained from a telephone survey of fifteen Edmonton food establishments about their training programs; a review of provincial activity with reference to certification requirements; interviews with food safety trainers; interview with a project leader with Alberta Health and Wellness; and an examination of food safety training material. The report reflects the contributions and perspectives of owners, managers, supervisors, employees and trainers.
The research team noted that managers and owners, whose urgent priorities involve production and service, have hectic and busy schedules. This is reflected in the communication process about the project. ARFA assisted the research team by sending out letters of introduction outlining the research project to food establishments prior to our phone calls to set up a meeting appointment. Nine out of ten of the managers did not recall receiving the communication.
The research team found that interviewees, in large, were friendly, interested and receptive to working with us. They willingly took time out of their busy schedule to answer questions about their job and about food safety, and in a number of cases to tour through the kitchen or preparation area. We learned that workers in the industry are knowledgeable about food safety and aware of future direction. Although for some workers, food service work is a temporary measure to another career, there are many workers who are enthusiastic about their career, proud of their jobs, and show a commitment to their work. Their perceptions and experience in the food services industry has enhanced our research. The insightful information has helped us to understand the importance of food safe handling and its ramifications for the local and global community.
As a starting point to explore and learn about food safety, the research team asked stakeholders for their point of view and understanding of the importance of food safety in the industry. The recurrent theme and pattern is that food safe handling has become an issue of increasing significance with implications to customers, to workers in the field and to the industry at large.
Managers spoke of the central role of food safety in the link between customer safety, and improving and maintaining business. Managers said that it is essential not only for the customer but "from the co-worker safety standpoint". In a highly competitive industry, they said that safe food handling is a must.
"Everything in the industry is related to food. Your business is directly connected to the public perception of how safe your food is."
"It's important for the bottom line. You need to give people good food that won't make them ill. "