In a paper titled, “Ground beef handling and cooking practices in restaurants in eight states,” Bogard, Fuller, Radke, Selman, and Smith (2013) discussed food handling processes and their potential role in causing E. Coli infections. The focus of the study has a significant public health impact because food-borne infections are a public health concern not only in America but other parts of the world as well (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014). For example, in America alone, it accounts for more than 60,000 deaths and 20 fatalities yearly (Bogard et al., 2013). Global statistics are higher (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014).
The sampled study fills an important research gap in food handling processes because it focuses on an important food component – meat, which is a major delicacy among Americans and a major source of illnesses (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014). Particularly, the research findings focus on explaining how to prevent food infections that arise from infections by E. Coli in ground beef. Focusing on restaurant processes explains an important function of the study, which is to find out the relationship between E. Coli infections and restaurant patronage. This focus of the study is an important research area because lifestyle changes have elevated the importance of restaurants in modern living. Therefore, investigating E. Coli infections that occur from eating food, in such social places, is critical in understanding the main causes of food-borne bacterial infections and in exploring possible prevention strategies for preventing food-borne infections (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014). This analysis differs from other research studies that have focused on exploring the epidemiology of foodborne bacterial infections through general sources of infection (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014).
A broad overview of the methodology shows that the researchers thought it out. Different sections of the methodology strived to improve the study’s validity. For example, the researchers undertook the sample selection process by seeking the services of the Environmental Health Specialist Network because the agency specializes in undertaking such research studies. The researchers also considered the need for convenience in undertaking the research process when selecting the methodology. Particularly, this observation emerged in the data collection process and when choosing the selection criteria for recruiting respondents. For example, the researchers selected their respondents through telephone interviews, as a screening criterion for assessing their eligibility. Furthermore, the researchers used a convenience sample of regulatory institutions to benchmark their investigations to existing food and safety standards. For purposes of data analysis, they used web-based systems. Resource or geographical limitations could have forced them to use these research approaches, but I would have chosen a random sample of regulatory institutions to benchmark the work. My main motivation would be improving the reliability and validity of the research findings. However, the data analysis process would be the same as that selected by Bogard et al. (2013) because it is less prone to human error or bias.
The researchers established a link between sporadic cases of E. Coli infections and restaurant patronage. However, they also found out that the main differences in restaurant food-handling processes varied because of restaurant ownership. While it is difficult to dispute the relationship between E. Coli infections and restaurant patronage, I do not believe that restaurant ownership fully explains poor food handling processes. Instead, management ineptitude and corporate cultures could provide a better explanation of the differences in food handling processes because they guide employee processes and food handling standards.
The main social impact of the findings advanced by Bogard et al. (2013) is the advocacy for better food handling standards in restaurants. However, it is not enough to advocate for better training programs to equip workers with better food-handling skills and sensitize managers about its importance because this paper’s findings are more beneficial in informing policy (food safety standards) programs that should encourage restaurant managers to adopt safer food processing procedures.
Bogard, A. K., Fuller, C. C., Radke, V., Selman, C. A., & Smith, K. E. (2013). Ground beef handling and cooking practices in restaurants in eight states. Journal of Food Protection, 76(12), 2132-40.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). Food safety. Web.