Food safety is vital to human beings as well as to the food industry. Therefore, knowledge and hygiene practice of food safety among food handlers are particularly important. Evaluation of food safety knowledge and hygienic practices among 18 restaurants in three different regions (i.e., districts) in the Governorate of Muscat was performed. In order to determine the quality level of restaurants, grouping (i.e., Region 1, Region 2, and Region 3; e.g., Group I, Group II, and Group III) was adopted from the regulations and assigned by the municipality based on the number of complaints against the restaurants. A questionnaire was designed to assess the knowledge of hygiene, food poisoning, food handling, cooking, and local regulations/rules of the food handlers in selected restaurants. The food handlers in the Region 1 restaurants showed significantly higher (p<0.05) overall knowledge (58.6%) in food safety as compared to Region 2 (52.1%) and Region 3 (53.2%). Overall knowledge of food handlers in Group I restaurants was significantly higher (p<0.05) (64.4%) as compared to Group II (53.1%) and Group III (48.1%). The hygiene practices in Group I restaurants were significantly higher (p<0.05) than those in Groups II and III. A small but significant inverse association (r2=-0.38) between total knowledge scores and hygiene practices was found. In conclusion, higher knowledge in the field is associated with better hygiene practices, and these are more likely to prevent food poisoning originating from restaurants. We recommend implementing specialized education courses and workshops for the food handlers as a requirement before embarking on service to decrease the risks of foodborne diseases.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science