Risk behaviours and practices of food handlers in norovirus transmission

Sinead Watson, Yun Yun Gong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose:
Food handlers are often a major source of norovirus transmission in the UK. Considering key behaviours of food handlers that lead to norovirus transmission would help prevent the spread. The purpose of this paper is to examine the key risk behaviours of food handlers that lead to norovirus transmission, and to recognise important prevention strategies.

Design/methodology/approach:
A narrative review of the literature summarising the main risk behaviours of food handlers that lead to norovirus transmission.

Findings:
Suboptimal personal hygiene such as poor hand washing compliance, working while ill or returning to work too early and not adhering to cleaning and disinfecting protocols were the main risk behaviours of food handlers identified. To prevent the transmission of norovirus within UK food establishments, environmental barriers such as limited access to cleaning products and facilities, workload and pay concerns should be resolved, and a theory-based approach should be used when developing training programmes to improve food handlers’ knowledge and behaviour. Systematic monitoring adhered to ensure food safety protocols should be regularly carried out.

Research limitations/implications:
A limited number of qualitative studies assessing food handlers’ attitudes and beliefs concerning norovirus transmission are available. Gaining more detailed and in-depth information on what food handlers perceive are the main barriers when it comes to adhering to food safety guidelines, would aid in the development of effective norovirus mitigation strategies.

Originality/value:
This review discusses the main risk behaviours of food handlers associated with norovirus transmission. It highlights the need for more qualitative research on exploring the attitudes and beliefs of food handlers with regard to norovirus transmission.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2510-2523
Number of pages14
JournalBritish Food Journal
Volume120
Issue number11
Early online date01 Aug 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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