Official food control is intended to ensure food safety in the food business. In Finland, inspections of food service are performed using a 4-point risk-based grading system. This study compared routine inspection results of outbreak and non-outbreak establishments in restaurants and institutional catering to investigate whether certain inspection results were associated with the occurrence of foodborne outbreaks. Also a more specific sample of outbreak establishments was defined using strength of evidence registered for each outbreak. Grade distributions of specific inspected items were compared separately. No significant differences were seen in restaurants but in institutional catering significantly poorer inspection results (p < 0.05) were detected in items concerning the order and cleanliness of facilities, surfaces and equipment in outbreak establishments. Effective correction of non-compliances in cleanliness of the food handling environment and equipment and constant maintenance of a favourable situation is essential in ensuring a high level of consumer safety in food service.
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