Improving Food Safety Knowledge for All


Impact Statement: 
After noting that the scores on certification exams given after food safety training courses to restaurant workers were markedly lower for workers in Chinese restaurants, the county undertook a QI project that included Chinese restaurant owners, managers and workers in the process. Multiple changes were made in the training process to adapt it to the needs of the workers, including training and testing in simplified Chinese and offering the course at times when the workers could attend.

The Grand Traverse County Health Department (GTCHD) Quality Improvement (QI) team selected food safety training disparities among Chinese restaurant workers as an improvement project. Food safety training exam scores were disproportionately low among Chinese food service workers in Grand Traverse County. The goal of the project was to use QI techniques and tools to determine why such a learning disparity existed among Chinese food service workers and to develop an improvement theory to address the problem. The strategy involved assessing the needs of Chinese food service workers. A key component of the strategy involved including Chinese restaurant owners/managers/workers in the process to accurately identify the needs of the workers regarding food safety training. Once the needs assessment was done and potential root causes were identified, an improvement theory was developed to improve food safety knowledge.

Organization that conducted the QI initiative: 
Grand Traverse County Health Department

Thorell, D. Public Health Quality Improvement Exchange. Improving Food Safety Knowledge for All. Fri, 11/16/2018 - 11:00. Available at Accessed March 1, 2024.

Submission Status: 
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Grace Gorenflo's picture
Submitted by Grace Gorenflo on

Thanks for sharing your work. Your future plans sound quite interesting, and I'm wondering if you've been able to make any progress in developing incentives that promote a vested interest? You also talked about developing another aim statement, and I'm wondering what that is/was? There were many interesting items under "other information" - has any of this information been used to develop additional interventions? I look forward to learning more about your work!

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Submitted by dthorell on

Thanks for your questions and comments. To date, EH staff with Health Department have not been able to continue with this project. Basically, staffing, funding, and several changes within the Department have prevented additional work. However, the food service inspectors have learned from the project and adopted methods of teaching food safety when doing inspections. This translates to more basic food safety information in simplified Chinese and more hands on training. The Department does plan on conducting a Chinese version of our "Food Safety Basics" program. Our new aim statement would center around this training which we would hire a translator to help teach the class in simplified Chinese. There would likely be a pre-test and a post-test for the class so that improvements could be measured. The class would cover the basics of food safety with heavy emphasis on hands on training and visual aids. Regarding vested interest, we have not worked on that issue. Perhaps the theme for the next focus group.

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Daniel R. Thorell, M.S., R.S.
Environmental Sanitarian
Grand Traverse County Health Department
Environmental Health Department
2650 LaFranier Rd
Traverse City, MI 49686

4Sloan's picture
Submitted by 4Sloan on

Thank you for submitting this project. We are currently writing a grant for a QI project to improve efficiencies and effectiveness (communication and customer service) with non-English speaking operators and ESL operators.Your work will help to inform our own.

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