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App to help conduct concealed food safety observations

App to help conduct concealed food safety observations
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A smartphone app can replace traditional methods to improve the quality of data collection related to food safety observations in restaurants and...

New York: A smartphone app can replace traditional methods to improve the quality of data collection related to food safety observations in restaurants and supermarkets without any fuss, scientists report.

Food safety practices used by food handlers are often monitored for research, inspection and regulatory purposes.However, if surveillance is not concealed, it can result in unintended behavioural changes.

These changes -- known as the Hawthorne Effect -- can render such observations meaningless.

In new research, researchers describe a newly developed smartphone and tablet application for use as a data collection tool for direct concealed observations.

The app helps create of checklists to record aspects such as hand hygiene, the adequacy of hand-washing facilities, the temperature in coolers holding ready-to-eat foods and the presence of potentially hazardous foods.

It allows observers to easily add photos, audio, videos and open-ended notes to their reports.

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