Source: TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY submitted to
ESTIMATING THE ECONOMIC COST OF FOODBORNE ILLNESSES IN TENNESSEE: STRATEGIES FOR REDUCING COSTS TO SMALL PRODUCERS, AND SELECTED FOOD HANDLERS
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
TERMINATED
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Annual
Accession No.
0208511
Grant No.
(N/A)
Project No.
TENX-0709-EPT5
Proposal No.
(N/A)
Multistate No.
(N/A)
Program Code
(N/A)
Project Start Date
Oct 1, 2006
Project End Date
Dec 31, 2009
Grant Year
(N/A)
Project Director
Ekanem, E.
Recipient Organization
TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY
3500 JOHN A. MERRITT BLVD
NASHVILLE,TN 37209
Performing Department
Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Non Technical Summary
Foodborne illnesses from five pathogens imposed a cost of $6.9 billion on the US economy in 2000. Millions are sickened and hospitalized annually from food pathogens. Foodborne illnesses are mostly the result of poor/unsanitary food processing, preparation or handling. Proper attention and implementation of safeguards could significantly reduce the incidences of foodborne illnesses. Formal training and education of key players in the food sysetm can be used in accomplishing the goal of reducing foodborne illnesses. This project consists of carefully planned training and education to increase awareness which contributes to increased knowledge that could lead to better food processing, preparation and handling practices. This project estimates the economic cost associated with foodborne illnesses in Tennessee and suggest training strategies to reduce costs resulting from foodborne illnesses for selected small producers, food handlers and consumers in Tennessee.
Animal Health Component
97%
Research Effort Categories
Basic
3%
Applied
97%
Developmental
(N/A)
Classification

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
6076010301080%
6096020302010%
6096099303010%
Goals / Objectives
The objectives of the project are to: (1) estimate overall cost of foodborne illnesses in the state of Tennessee, (2) provide food safety and safe food handling education and training to targeted groups and others interested in food safety. The education and training provided through the project will increase food safety knowledge and practices for the clients to improve food handling practices. Improved practices from training and education will consequently reduce incidence of foodborne illnesses thereby reducing the cost of foodborne illnesses imposed from poor food safety practices and safe food handling in Tenneessee, (3) provide useful research-based information through seminars, workshops, conferences and fact-sheets to benefit small producers, consumers and food handlers in Tennessee, and (4) examine policy implications of the research and provide recommendations for the state, participants, and health and food safety policy makers in Tennessee.
Project Methods
Available secondary data will be used in collecting information on the current status of the incidence of foodborne illnesses in Tennessee. Primary data, using questionnaire surveys, will be collected from consumers, small producers, and selected food handlers, and used in augmenting and verifying secondary data from existing data banks and records. Information from the secondary and primary data will then be used for estimating the economic cost of foodborne illnesses in the state. The USDA-ERS Foodborne Illness Cost Calculator will be used in estimating costs of foodborne illnesses for Tennessee. Additional information from government web sites such as the FDAs Center for Food Safety and Nutrition information on safe handling of raw produce, and the Food Safety Inspection Service will be used in developing training materials for this project. Fifty small producers, 200 consumers, and 50 specifically targeted food handlers will be solicited for participation in surveys to be developed for this study. About 50 - 60% of those participating in the general survey will be recruited for participating in the food safety training and education program to be developed for this study. Pre- and post training and educational outcomes of increased safe food handling knowledge and actual practices outcomes will be used in assessing the effectiveness of education and training for selected groups. Input on the tool to be used for evaluation of success of training and educational programs will be developed from stakeholder input which will be used in developing specific content criteria for the pre- and post-training knowledge advancement. Food safety professionals from academia, government and industry will conduct training and education for project participants. Sound experimental design will be used in assigning participants to treatment groups with a control group for examining effect of training and education.

Progress 10/01/06 to 12/31/09

Outputs
OUTPUTS: During the period covered in this report, a questionnaire developed and pre-tested earlier was administered to respondents in Tennessee. Seventy useable surveys were collected and analyzed. Poster Presentation and oral presentations were made at the Professional Agricultural Workers Conferences in Tuskegee, Alabama, the Food Distribution Research Society meetings in Broomfield Colorado and Tennessee State University-wide Annual Symposium. Specific titles of presentation include: Ekanem, Enefiok, Mary Mafuyai-Ekanem, Fisseha Tegegne and Surendra Singh. 2009. Opportunities and Related Issues for Food Safety Research in Tennessee. A paper presented at the 67th Professional Agricultural Workers Conference held at Tuskegee University, Alabama, December 6 - 8. Ekanem, E., M. Mafuyai-Ekanem, F. Tegegne and S. Singh. 2009. An Assessment of Consumer Food Safety Concerns and Safe Handling Training Needs in Tennessee. A Research Report presented at the Food Distribution Research Society Meeting held in Broomfield, Colorado, October 31-November 4. E. Ekanem, M. Mafuyai-Ekanem, F. Tegegne and S. Singh. 2009. Pathogens in our Foods: Why Imports Matter. A Poster presented at the 31st Annual University-Wide Research Day, Tennessee State University. March 31 - April 3. Collaborated with colleagues at Tennessee State University, the Economic Research Search Service and the Tennessee Department of Health were enhanced through the implementation of this project. Overall costs of foodborne illnesses in the United States were communicated to audiences in the professional meetings attended. Project activities provided participants with skills for identifying food safety issues, training needs, safe food handling techniques, modification or behavioral changes in food preparations, hygiene, cooking, handling, storing and labeling in Tennessee. Target audiences included consumers, restaurant workers, students, food safety professionals and other interested in safe food handling. PARTICIPANTS: E. Ekanem (PI) F. Tegegne (colleague) and S. Singh (colleague) provided input to developed survey. Partners: Economic Research Service, Nashville Farmers Market, (Market Manager), Tennessee Department of Health, selected restaurant managers and workers. Students: Brittany Brown, graduate student assisted with data collection. Sophia Evans, undergraduate student, was involved in survey administration. Andrea Rusell, undergraduate student, assisted with data coding, entry and analysis. Aditya Tella, graduate student conducted literature search and data and analysis. Isaac Liyatu, graduate student, assisted with data entry and analysis. Mary Mafuyai Ekanem, agricultural economist, (volunteer) provided input in questionnaire design, coding, data analysis, assisted with literature review, developed power point materials and made presentations at professional meeting and conference. TARGET AUDIENCES: Target audiences included consumers, restuarant workers, students, food safety professionals and other interested in safe food handling. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Presentations made at professional meetings in Alabama, Colorado and Tennessee disseminated information and increased knowledge of approximately 600 consumers, farmers, students, food safety workers and other professionals' knowledge.

Impacts
Students were recruited and trained in the use of Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) to input and analyze data. In addition to training in use of spread sheets (Excel 2007) students acquired skills in using Microsoft PowerPoint to develop presentations and posters for professional meetings. The questionnaire was developed and administered face to face to respondents. Seventy useable surveys were collected and analyzed. Data was analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). Results showed that food safety was an important issue in Tennessee. Approximately 53.6% were non-white while 46.4% whites. In terms of marital status 52.9% were married, 38.6% never married, 4.3% divorced, 2.9% separated and 1.4% widowed. In terms of gross household income 75% of the respondents had a gross annual household income of $49,000 or less and 26.5% had $50,000 or more. Education wise, 2.9% of study participants had less than high school education, 14.3% earned a high school diploma or GED, 22.9% had trade, vocational school, some college, or associate degree, 24.3% had bachelor's degree and 35.7% held graduate or post graduate degrees. TN survey respondents were most concerned with becoming sick from eating unsafe foods, keeping food safe, good hygiene for food handlers, contamination of food from E coli and other bacteria. While 66.7% of the respondents considered the issue of food safety very important, 46.3% considered it important, 7.1% considered it somewhat important and 2.9% did not respond. Of the survey participants responding to the question of job responsibility, 8.6% indicated that they worked in cooking, 2.9% in serving, 4.3% in keeping kitchen and dining areas clean and 42.9% work in other areas of restaurant business. When asked whether or not TN restaurants and other food service workers received adequate training in handling food, 28.4% said yes, 35.7% no and 41.4% said they did not know. Consequently, 21.4 % of respondents indicated that they were very interested in food safety training, 45.7 % were interested and 22.9 said they were somewhat interested. Only 7.1 % of the respondents said that they were not interested in food safety training. Presentations and disseminated information at campus seminars, small farms expo, research symposium, professional meetings in Alabama, Colorado, Ohio, and Tennessee increased food safety knowledge of approximately 600 consumers, farmers, students, restaurant workers, managers, marketers and other professionals.

Publications

  • Ekanem, E.,Mafuyai-Ekanem, M.,Tegegne, F. and Singh, S.P. 2009. Pathogens in Our Foods: Why Imports Matter. A Poster presented at the 31st Annual University Wide Research Symposium, Tennessee State University. March 31 to April 3. Abstract available at http://www.tnstate.edu/research/media/2009RspSymProg.pdf.


Progress 01/01/08 to 12/31/08

Outputs
OUTPUTS: During this reporting period, one graduate student was assigned to review existing literature on food safety training information. The research data collected from the secondary search provided the basis for the food safety training needs questionnaire developed for Tennessee. Models that had been applied in four states with publicly available food safety training plans were reviewed. Where appropriate, questions were adapted for use in the Tennessee survey questionnaire. The Internet was used as the primary source for information. A database of available food and food-related companies in southeast US was acquired from Harris InfoSource, a company that maintains an extensive directory of companies. Contact information including addresses of primary contacts, telephone and fax numbers of potential survey participants from Tennessee were extracted and stored for later use by the project. The project continued with a review of the cost of foodborne illness literature and statistical packages that will generate the most reliable results. A related foodborne illness and food import paper was developed and presented at the Association for Global Business meeting in Washington, D.C. PARTICIPANTS: The advisory board members: L. Speller-Henderson, S. Singh, F. Tegegne, Nashville Farmers Market Manager/representative, Tennessee Department of Health and P. Frenzen, USDA ERS. TARGET AUDIENCES: Small farmers, food handlers, consumers and others interested in food safety in Tennessee. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Project questionnaire developed and database of potential participating businesses established.

Impacts
Food safety training needs questionnaires for food preparers (and other food service workers) and food establishment managers were developed. Informal input from colleagues in the School of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences at Tennessee State University was used in modifying and/or eliminating some questions in the food preparers and other food service workers questionnaire. A pilot testing of the two questionnaires will be conducted with a more representative group of potential study participants. The graduate student hired on the project received training in food safety research and database management. The training resulted in a list of potential businesses that may be contacted for participation in the project. Mass mailing techniques using the MailMerge feature in Microsoft Word was used in developing the list for future project contacts. One (1) statistical/econometric software package for use in estimating logistic regression and conducting other statistical model estimations was purchased for the project.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period


Progress 01/01/07 to 12/31/07

Outputs
OUTPUTS: Contacts were established with a scientist at the Economic Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture to provide support for the use of the calculator to be used in estimating economic costs of foodborne illnesses in Tennessee. Recruitment for the advisory group is continuined during this reporting period. Information collected from secondary data was used for presentation at the Professional Agricultural Workers Conference (PAWC) in Tuskegee. Secondary information on food safety issues in Tennessee was on-going during this reporting period. The following paper presentation was made at the 2007 Professional Agricultural Workers Conference: Ekanem, Enefiok. 2007. Food Safety Issues in Tennessee: Examination of the Sources, Severity and Measures for Mitigating Outbreaks of Foodborne Illnesses. A paper presented at the 65th PAWC Conference held in Tuskegee, Alabama, Dec. 2 - 4. PARTICIPANTS: Enefiok Ekanem Potential collaborating institutions and collaborators: USDA/Economic Research Service State of Tennessee Department of Agriculure and Department of Health University of Tennessee Project Advisory Group Selected small farmers and small businesses in Tennessee Students at Tennessee State University who will working with scientist Colleagues in the School of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences at Tennessee State University TARGET AUDIENCES: Food safety policy makers Small farmers and small businesses Foodborne illness experts and professionals Foodborne illness cost economists Students PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: None, at this time.

Impacts
Information on food safety gathered from secondary sources was presented to about 20 people at the PAWC in Tuskegee, Alabama.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period


Progress 01/01/06 to 12/31/06

Outputs
This is a new project. Literature review of secondary data sources to be used for collecting information on foobborne illnesses in Tennessee has started. The review has, so far, focused on what is available on the Internet. A list of persons who will be asked to serve on the project advisory group is currently being developed.

Impacts
Expected Impact of project: Overall, this project will provide an estimate of the cost of foodborne illnesses in Tennessee; provide food safety and safe food handling education and training to a targeted group of consumers, producers and food handlers in Tennessee; provide useful research-based information on food safety, and; examine implications for policy in Tennessee.

Publications

  • No publications reported this period