Date of Award

3-29-2007

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Degree Program

Global Leadership - with a specialization in Educational Leadership

Department

College of Education

First Advisor

Mary Tebes

Second Advisor

James Downey

Third Advisor

Richard Cohen

Abstract

This study examined food-borne illnesses in Taiwan's preschools which are a major cause of personal distress and preventable death. They are of particular concern in preschools as very young children are highly susceptible to food-borne illnesses. Previous studies that comprehensively investigated the factors impacting food-borne illnesses in Taiwan were not found in the literature. The development of a universal food safety model is necessary as a means to measure relevant constructs. Application of the model should be able to prevent the occurrence of food-borne illnesses in organizations. This explanatory (correlational) study examined the relationships among food facilities, food service workers, the flow of food, and food-borne illnesses in Taiwan's preschools. Multiple regression testing of the hypothesized model supported all hypotheses.

When the variables in Hypotheses H1 to H5 were tested separately, the findings indicated that for food service workers, "attitudes toward food safety and sanitation" and "personal hygiene" were significant positive explanatory variables of food facilities and the flow of food. Furthermore, "attitudes toward food safety knowledge and training" and "personal hygiene" were significant negative explanatory variables of food-borne illnesses. For food facilities, "environment" and "equipment and water supply" were significant negative explanatory variables of food-borne illnesses. For the flow of food, "food storing", and "food preparation and cooking" were significant inversely related explanatory variables of food-borne illnesses. When all variables were tested together in the hypothesized model constructed in Hypothesis H6, the findings indicated that "attitudes toward food safety knowledge and training", "personal hygiene", "food receiving and serving" and "food storing" were significant negative explanatory variables of food-borne illnesses. This study suggested that food managers should develop a policy to ensure that personal hygiene is more important than the food production flow, and to let employees know that food safety knowledge and training can reduce the risk of food-borne illnesses. The limitation of the study regarding generalization, and recommendations for future research to replicate the study in other countries or different school levels, are also included.

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