Relationship between food safety and critical violations on restaurant inspections: An empirical investigation of bacterial pathogen content

Valerie A. Yeager, Nir Menachemi, Bruce Braden, Devon M. Taylor, Bryn Manzella, Claude Ouimet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


While various safety control measures exist within the U.S. food system, foodborne illness remains a costly and persistent problem. The purpose of the study described here was to examine the relationship between violations of critical restaurant inspection items ("critical items") and food safety as measured by the bacterial load of illness-causing pathogens. Specifically, the authors' study looked at bacterial pathogens present in foods of two groups of restaurants, those that consistently scored poorly on critical items as compared to restaurants that performed superiorly in the same types of evaluation in Jefferson County, Alabama. Laboratory analyses indicated that 35.7% of the foods tested had detectable levels of Staphylococcus aureus, but no difference occurred between the two groups of restaurants. No other bacterial pathogens were found in any of the tested samples. A total of 45.2% of the food samples were received outside of recommended temperatures. Findings draw attention to the ongoing need to improve temperature control and hygienic practices, specifically handwashing practices, in restaurants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-73
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Environmental Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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