Me and Chapman, we love the covert studies (for science)

Hand hygiene is one of the most effective method for preventing cross-contamination. Food handlers have a major role in the prevention of foodborne illness during food production1 , consequently food handler hand hygiene failures are frequently reported to be implicated in foodborne illness2 . Although informative, food safety cognitions are not indicative of actual practices and may be subject to biases3 , therefore food handlers may demonstrate awareness of food safety, however may fail to translate knowledge into safe practices4 .

For this reason observational data are superior to survey data5 . However, during direct observations, researcher presence can increase subject reactivity6 , whereas covert video observation provide a more comprehensive analysis over a sustained period, where familiarity reduces reactivity bias7 . Previous video observation research have assessed food handler behaviours at retail/catering settings8-10 , however, this method has been under-utilised in food manufacturing business environments. Covert observation may allow the comparison of practices in different areas of manufacturing over the same period of time.

A comparison of hand hygiene compliance in high-care and high-risk areas in a Welsh food manufacturing business using covert observation

Cardiff Metropolitan University

Ellen Evans, Catherine Bunston and Elizabeth Redmond