Foodborne Illness Caused by Food Establishments Essay Example

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Method: Retrospective Cross-Sectional Approach

Justification of the Method

In Texas, all restaurants with permits for preparing and serving food must be subjected to semiannual inspections in accordance with the existing policy guidelines. . The inspection process has an established criterion that comprises of 40 scored items with a possible score of 100. Following the inspection, all commercial establishments preparing and serving food are required to hold a permit from Harris County.

Restaurants remain significant settings for foodborne disease outbreaks.1 Consequently, consumers have increasingly depended on the results of inspection activities in guiding their decisions on where to take meals. It is for this reason that identification of a method for cross-sectional inspection remains essential in improving sanitary practices in restaurants.2

Since the link between the outbreak of foodborne disease and inspection results appears to be associated with a specific pathogen, there is need for regular or routine inspections on all restaurants. To conceptualize this position, this study develops retrospective cross-sectional approach where there will be inspection of a cohort of restaurants (25 to 30) that share common exposure factors, in this case, foodborne outbreaks or diseases.

The aim of identifying the cohorts (25-30 restaurants) is to carry cross-sectional examination so that the results can influence the development and spread of the foodborne disease. To provide succinct understanding of the situation, the identified cohorts will be compared to other restaurants that were not exposed to foodborne diseases.3 This approach is feasible considering the the researcher will focus on a sample of restaurants with the desired traits. The researcher will also have mechanisms to deal with the potential recall bias associated with retrospective approaches.

Description of the Activities

  1. Epidemiological Inspections

There will be preliminary assessment of the restaurant where the inspection will start by refuting or confirming the existence of an outbreak thus allowing working case definition. The process will entail:

  • Validating the information regarding previous outbreaks of food borne illnesses

  • Reviewing laboratory test reports on the specific outbreaks detailing the suspected organisms

  • Collection of food samples for further analysis and confirmation on the presence of the potential organisms

  • Interviewing 7-15 persons in every restaurant for the 30 restaurants to identify any additional risk factors for food borne illnesses

The preliminary assessments above will provide clearer directions, as well as, epidemiological data from the group affected within the sample of the 25-30 restaurants

  1. Forming Preliminary Standpoint and Future Action

At this stage, the process of inspection shall have preliminary information especially from the interviews and decisions will be made on whether to continue with the inspection. If there is evidence that there is continuing public health risk, further inspection will be weighed against local resources and priorities. Other likely reason for the continued inspection will entail:

  • There is high level of public concern about the restaurant

  • Preliminary inspection shows health risks

After establishing the preliminary standpoints, subsequent steps will include the following:

  • Descriptive Epidemiological Inspection

  • Stating a case definition

  • Analyzing the data by place, person, time and features

  • Determining the risks

  • Providing evidence based decision

Based on the evidence-based decisions, applying retrospective approaches will help to compare the occurrence of the disease among other restaurants exposed to foodborne diseases against those that were not.

  1. Data analysis

The process will elicit both qualitative and quantitative data that for interpretation to yield statistically based interpretations. Quantitative data will be analyzed using the statistical package for social sciences (SPSS 20.0) to include CDC surveillance data on the outbreaks of food borne illnesses, the hospitalizations, and the deaths recorded in Texas.2

The results of the quantitative data analysis will provide very useful insights on the incidences of food borne illnesses, the specific causal agents, and the risk factors that will inform objective restaurant inspections. 4


Ameme, Donne K., et al. «Outbreak of foodborne gastroenteritis in a senior high school in South-eastern Ghana: a retrospective cohort study.» BMC Public Health 16.1 (2016): 564. Print.

Bryman, Alan. Social Research Methods. Oxford university press, 2015. Google Scholar. Web. 30 Apr. 2016.

Food Safety News. CDC Mum about Fast-Food Chain in Salmonella Outbreak. Available at: salmonella-outbreak/#.WAGnUIXIf5k. Accessed: October 13, 2016. Web.

Klerks, Marielle CJL, Corry AJ Ketelaars, and Paul BM Robben. «Unannounced, compared with announced inspections: A systematic review and exploratory study in nursing homes.» Health policy 111.3 (2013): 311-319. Print.

Kwon, Junehee, et al. «Food Safety Risks in Restaurants and School Foodservice Establishments: Health Inspection Reports.» Food Protection Trends 34.1 (2014): 25-35. Print.