Don’t just say people need to be educated. Figure out how to tell the risk story.
We’ve talked about storytelling a lot on barfblog. Doug and I published a couple of papers a few years ago on using narratives to impact food safety behaviors (here and here). Doug has always stressed the importance of not only being a good storyteller, but that there’s structure to a good story.
I just watched Don Schaffner give a talk on food safety risk assessment at the Dubai International Food Safety Conference and while some might consider it a dry concept, Don told two stories that exemplified how it all works.
A recent podcast name check caused me to check out Community and Rick and Morty creator Dan Harmon and his storytelling circle (right, exactly as shown, from an excellent old Wired article).
I was asked to teach a couple of food safety courses in Hawaii a couple of years ago in February. I live in Winnipeg, Canada where the temperature hovers around -45C around that time. You do the math. I told my wife to pack up the bags and kids cause we’re getting the hell out here….
I am not going to refute that food safety training is essential for food handlers to prevent unnecessary public barfing. It’s how the training is delivered that makes the difference. Different people learn in different ways and so it is critical for trainers to accommodate student needs.
I have always been a proponent of providing on-site, hands-on training based on behavioral science. Prior to starting my grad work on food safety training, I took the grassroots approach and asked frontline workers, in particular, English as Second Language students how they would benefit from a training course. Answer is always a resounding on-site, hands-on training that is short, concise and to the point.
John Steinhorst of the Garden island writes The Hawaii Department of Health amended Chapter 50, Food Safety Code, after public hearings were held on Kauai, Hawaii Island, Maui and Oahu in December 2016 and March 2017. One of the major rule changes is a mandate for Food Handlers Education certification for persons-in-charge at all food establishments. This will ensure a minimum baseline of food safety knowledge for facility owners and managers. “In reality, I think it’s probably a good idea that more people are certified to handle food safely,” said John Ferguson, owner of Kalaheo Cafe & Coffee Company. “It just makes the environment in restaurants a lot safer for everybody.”
This is no conclusive evidence to support this statement. Having a Certificate doesn’t mean anything, it’s all about human behavior.
Studies have shown that food establishments with properly trained persons-in-charge have a lower occurrence of critical food safety violations that are directly linked to food illnesses. “I already have some employees that have gone through the program at the school, so they are certified themselves,” Ferguson said. “I was certified many times throughout my career, but I probably need a refresher as well too. The new rule requires at least one employee present during normal work hours, including during food preparation, must have a formal food handler’s training level certification. DOH will accept certification recognized by the American National Standards Institute.