Investigating a link of two different types of food business management to the food safety knowledge, attitudes and practices of food handlers in Beirut, Lebanon
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Although Lebanon has a flourishing traditional and modern food businesses, which are typical both Middle Eastern (ME) and Mediterranean cuisines, knowledge and practice of food safety performance of the food service sector are limited in the whole ME region and lacking in Lebanon. To address this, a survey was conducted in Beirut to evaluate the knowledge, attitudes and practices related to food safety issues of food handlers (n = 80) in food service establishments (n = 50) and to assess the influence of management type on enactment of safe practices on food premises. Our data suggest that while respondents have limited knowledge of some aspects of food safety, substantial gaps in their knowledge and self-reported practices associated with critical temperature of foods and cross contamination remain, therefore posing health risks to consumer health. Food handlers in corporatemanaged food outlets showed a significantly higher awareness on food safe practices. It is concluded that the management type is an integral element of TPB (Theory of Planned Behaviour) that influence food handlers' practices and substantiate the need for more research work on safe food handling in the context of food safety culture framework in food businesses. Our data revealed the critical need for food safety education interventions and technical guidance fostered by synergistic participation of the private and public sector to support food handlers in SME's (small and medium sized enterprises).
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