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Research Project: Implementation of HACCP in Assisted Living Facilities for the Elderly

Purpose
The elderly population is particularly vulnerable to foodborne illnesses because of weakened immune systems due to aging and chronic illness. Thus, food safety is very important for this population. Many elderly live in assisted living, and food safety in those facilities is critical, including both the safety of the food served by the facility and that prepared by residents.

Goal and Objectives
The goal of the project was to assess current food handling practices and HACCP implementation in assisted living for the elderly and provide training to improve food safety.

Specific objectives:

  1. Determine current food-handling practices and implementation of HACCP and its related prerequisite programs in assisted living across the U.S.
  2. Develop and adapt sample HACCP resources appropriate for assisted living and use Iowa State University’s Food Safety web site for national distribution of those resources.
  3. Increase managers’ and employees’ knowledge of food safety and improve their food handling practices in assisted living facilities.
  4. Determine food handling practices in rooms/apartments of residents in assisted living.
  5. Increase the knowledge and improve food handling practices of residents.

Methods

  • A modified Delphi process was used to generate potential questions and responses for development of a written questionnaire used to determine consultant dietitians’ perceptions of current food handling practices, HACCP implementation, prerequisite programs, and barriers to HACCP implementation.
  • Interviews with residents was used to determine food-handling practices in their individual living quarters.
  • A pre-test/post-test research design was used to determine changes in employee knowledge, attitudes and food-handling practices.
  • Audits of 40 assisted living facilities, including microbiological analysis, were conducted both pre- and post-intervention.
  • Training in basic food safety and HACCP and technical assistance was provided to foodservice employees during the intervention.
  • Educational materials were developed for residents.

Peer-Reviewed Publications

2007 Sneed, J, Strohbehn, C.H., & Gilmore, S. Impact of mentoring on food safety practices and HACCP implementation in Iowa assisted-living facilities. Topics in Clinical Nutrition, 22(2).

2004 Strohbehn, C.H., Gilmore, S., & Sneed, J. Food safety practices and HACCP implementation: Perceptions of registered dietitians and dietary managers.  Journal of  The American Dietetic Association, 104 (11), 1692-1698.

2004 Sneed, J., Strohbehn, C.H., & Gilmore, S. Food safety practices and readiness to implement hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP) programs in assisted living facilities in Iowa. Journal of The American Dietetic Association, 104 (11), 1678-1683.

Other Publications

2005 Gilmore, S., Sneed, J., Strohbehn, C.H., & Mahoney, M.  A look at food handling practices in assisted living facilities. Dietary Manager, 14 (1), 28-30.

2005 Gilmore, S., Sneed, J., Mahoney, M., & Strohbehn, C.H. Food handling practices of residents in assisted living facilities: Is there concern? The Consultant Dietitian, 29(3), 18-21.

Referred Presentations

2006 Strohbehn, C.H, Sneed, J, Gilmore, S. & Henroid, D. Food safety educational materials for foodservice staff and residents in schools and assisted living facilities for the elderly. USDA Food Safety Conference: Reaching At Risk Audiences and today's Other Food Safety Challenges, Denver, CO., September. (educational exhibit)

2006 Sneed, J., Strohbehn, C.H., & Gilmore, S. Food safety practices and HACCP implementation in assisted living for the elderly. USDA Food Safety Conference: Reaching At  Risk Audiences and Today's Other Food Safety Challenges, Denver, CO., September.

Project Investigators:

Shirley Gilmore, PhD, RD
Professor and Project Director
515-294-9740
sgilmore@iastate.edu

Jeannie Sneed, PhD, RD, CFSP, SFNS
Project Co-Director and former ISU Professor

Cathy Strohbehn, PhD, RD, CFSP
Adjunct Associate Professor and Project Co-Director
515-294-7306
cstrohbe@iastate.edu

This project was funded by the USDA Cooperative States Research, Education and Extension Service, Project No. 2002 - 51110 - 01525.