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Future professional food handlers’ perspectives towards food safety

Andrej Ovca (University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia)
Mojca Jevšnik (University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia)
Peter Raspor (University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 6 February 2017




The purpose of this paper is to gain insight into various food safety aspects of future professional food handlers, representing different professions in the food supply chain (FSC), close to the end of their formal education.


A total of 15 focus group discussions including 94 participants were conducted. A semi-structured approach was applied to discussions about the comprehension of food safety, the responsibility for food safety, the barriers hindering food safety practices, and the food safety influence of other people.


Differences related to the field of study and level of education were identified. The results demonstrate the diversity of interpretations of food safety with control of biological hazards strongly emphasized. The responsibility for food safety is perceived differently by position in the FSC. Different barriers related to the working environment and personal factors were identified. Parental influence on the target population is decreased as focus is shifted to the teachers of practical classes and especially to the instructors in food enterprises.

Research limitations/implications

Considering the response rate and the small number of schools offering a specific study programme not all the study fields and educational levels were equally represented.

Practical implications

The findings could assist educators, policy makers, and food business operators in their efforts to develop educational programmes that will more effectively contribute to the safety of food.


No research thus far has focussed on students being educated as future professional food handlers.



The authors would like to acknowledge the participating vocational schools, especially their principals and coordinators of research, for making this research possible.


Ovca, A., Jevšnik, M. and Raspor, P. (2017), "Future professional food handlers’ perspectives towards food safety", British Food Journal, Vol. 119 No. 2, pp. 411-424.



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Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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