Food safety education: child-to-parent instruction in an immigrant population

Food safety training programs must take into consideration language barriers in order to be effective. I further believe that unless these training courses provide some sort of demonstration and not just regurgitation of information and facts, retention will be minimized. 
2011 Journal of Environmental Health Abstracts
Dhitinut Ratnapradipa, PhD, CHES | Daniela Quilliam, MPH, REHS | Lauren Wier, MPH, PhD (c) | Darson L. Rhodes, PhD, CHES
Abstract: A quasi-experimental pretest-posttest design was used to examine increases in food handling knowledge among eastern European refugee restaurant candidates as a result of educational material taught either by the employee’s child or the Salt Lake Valley Health Department. Participants were nonrandomly assigned to a study (n = 15) or control group (n = 17). The study group was taught by their children in their native language. The control group was taught by an SLVHD instructor in English. All participants completed pre- and posttests that measured four areas of food handling knowledge: personal hygiene and hand washing (PHHW), cooking and holding time/temperature (COOKTT), cooling and holding time/temperature (COOLTT), and cross-contamination (CC). Both groups demonstrated a significant increase in knowledge of PHHW, but only the study group demonstrated significant improvements in COOKTT and CC knowledge. These study results suggest that food handling education programs are effective in increasing knowledge and mode of delivery may be an important factor.
Mode of delivery is an important factor in health education programs. The nature of training itself involves not only the dissemination of food safety messaging in the hopes of achieving a high grade; rather it involves demonstrating the principles.   I have seen this multiple times; people retain more if they are shown what to do and why it is important. For instance, it is one thing to inform operators to use a digital tip sensitive thermometer and another to show how to use one. Often times, through routine observations, this practice has been done incorrectly thereby increasing the probability of a food borne illness. Physically demonstrating the proper use of the thermometer, including calibration, engages the operator and helps in retention. This works for any food safety practice.