This study aims to assess food safety knowledge and practices of food handlers in popular public restaurants in Brazil. A questionnaire has been applied with 70 food handlers in different municipalities, with questions related to food safety knowledge and food safety self‐reported practices, and observed practices. To check hygienic‐sanitary conditions of restaurants, a checklist has been applied. Regarding food safety knowledge, an average of 72.64% of correct answers has been observed. Food safety self‐reported practices presented 80.71% of adequacy, while observed practices were 75.40%. A positive correlation has been observed between food safety knowledge and self‐reported practices of handlers. The observed food safety practice of handlers presented no correlation with food safety knowledge and self‐reported practices. The average adequacy of hygienic‐sanitary conditions was 68.08%, classifying the units as “regular.” Despite satisfactory results related to the handlers’ food safety knowledge and practices, the hygienic‐sanitary conditions of the restaurants are of concern.
The Popular Restaurant Program in Brazil aims to provide proper food from a nutritional and hygienic‐sanitary aspect at affordable prices. The assessment of food handlers’ food safety knowledge and practices and the assessment of hygienic‐sanitary conditions of these units are key in supporting actions aimed at improving the quality of the meals served, as food handlers are the essential agents in the production of meals and can become a source for food contamination if necessary care is not taken. Therefore, conducting this assessment can be an important tool for quality management in these units and can provide improvements in the process of food handling, in addition to ensuring compliance with the objectives proposed by the Popular Restaurant Program.