The majority of the food handlers surveyed failed to answer questions on the temperature range in which pathogens grow particularly well correctly: only 6 percent knew the minimum (5 °C) and 10 percent the maximum temperature (65 °C) for the critical temperature range. More employees in catering (46 %) knew the correct core temperatures (75 °C) when frying burgers than kitchen staff working in restaurants (15 %) or apprentices, of whom no one could give the right answer (0 %). The catering staff also knew more (52 %) about the core temperature of poultry (also 75 °C) than those working in restaurants (32 %) and apprentices (13 %).
However, the food handlers in restaurants knew more about the correct maximum temperature (4 °C) for storing cold foods, such as cold meats, cheese and also cooked rice than the other two groups (83 % versus 63 % of the catering staff, versus 42 % of apprentices).
Regular Training Necessary
A total of 27 percent of all kitchen staff surveyed had not taken part in any advanced training at their current workplace, despite legal provisions that state this. It was found that the knowledge levels in food handlers without such training were at 68 percent, compared to 82 percent among personnel with advanced training. This underscores the importance of complying with legal regulations. It is mandatory for food handlers in all European Union Member States to attend hygiene training at their current workplace once a year, when starting as a new employee or when changing their area of responsibility.
Moreover, the study found that “certified hygiene managers” knew more (78 %) than non-certified kitchen personnel (70 %) on average. In Austria, a “Hygiene Manager” certificate can be obtained from various advanced training institutes following the successful completion of a number of training modules.