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Cabin Crew Food Safety Training: An Exploratory Study

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posted on 2022-10-24, 15:55 authored by Ayman Safi Farag Abdelhakim

The production and service of airlines meals is a “high-risk  mass catering operation” with  food  safety  implications,  including  temperature  control  during  receiving/loading, storing and regeneration of meals, personal hygiene, cross-contamination, food allergy and  poisoning.  Food  service  is  a  crucial  part  of cabin  crew  on-board  duties,  therefore and according to the regulations, cabin crew should be educated/trained on food safety and  hygiene.  However,  while  a  plethora  of  studies  have  been  conducted  on  food handlers' food safety training in different sectors of the catering industry, to date; there is  no  in-depth  study  on  cabin  crew  food  safety  training.  Thus  this  study  aimed  to investigate  cabin  crew  food  safety  training  through the development of a  conceptual framework to inform the study.  Based  on  a  mixed  methods  design  and  pragmatic worldview,  this  study  employed a partially  mixed methods sequential  exploratory  equal  status  typology.  It  involved  two separate,   but   integrated   strands.   The   first   strand   was   qualitative   based   on   a snowballing    technique,in    whicha    sample    of    26    cabin    crew    training managers/supervisors  participated  in  in-depth,  semi-structured  interviews  from 20 airlines  worldwide.  In  addition,  content  analysis  of  documents,  e.g.,  airlines'  websites was  conducted.  The  qualitative  findings  revealed that  majority  of  airlines  train  cabin crew on food safety. However, training was not based on training needs analysis (TNA) and  was  not aligned with  cabin  crew  roles  and  duties.  Additionally,  few  airlines evaluated independently the reaction, knowledge, behaviours and results of their cabin crew  food  safetytraining.  These  findings  informed  the  need  for  quantifying  and generalisingof  cabin  crew  food  safety  issues,  therefore an  intermediate  model  was developed.The second strand was quantitative based on a random purposivesample of 307 cabin crew  from  the  20  airlines  participated  in  the first  strand.  Structural  equation  modelling (SEM)  was  used  for  measuring  the  relationships betweensix  constructs  of  the intermediate  model;  (training,  knowledge,  attitudes,  self-reported  practices,  barriers and  training  needs). The SEM  findings  revealed  that  food  safety  training  affectspositively  and  significantly  the  knowledge,  attitudes  and  self-reported  practices. Food training  affectsnegatively  and  significantly  the  perceived  training  needs.  However, there  were  significant  differences  between  trained  and  untrained  cabin  crew.  The findings also exposed the influence of barriers to food safety training and behaviours of both models; trained and untrained. This is the first study on cabin crew food safety training. It contributed to knowledge by providing  two  revised  models  which  improveunderstanding  of cabin  crew  food  safety training  which could  inform the  development  of future  cabin  crew  food  safety  training. Finally,  this  study developed a  range  of  recommendations,  limitations  and  future research opportunities. 



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