Degree Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2018

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Apparel, Events and Hospitality Management

Major

Hospitality Management

First Advisor

Lakshman Rajagopal

Abstract

Chinese restaurants are a frequent site of food allergy incidence due to inadequate food allergy knowledge and training among foodservice employees. Research into food allergy accommodations in foodservice recommends training to address employee gaps in knowledge, however, current resources regarding food allergy are limited and need further development. Therefore, the aim of this two-part study was to explore the food allergy training needs of Chinese restaurant employees in Chicago, Illinois, and to create a food allergen reference resource of packaged foods used in Chinese restaurants as the start of a database of allergen information. Part one explored the food allergy knowledge, attitudes, practices, and previous training experiences of Chinese restaurant employees, and investigated their opinions and preferences regarding food allergy training. Ninety-eight usable questionnaires (25.4% response rate) were collected from employees of Chinese restaurants. Results found low knowledge scores (M = 7.5/12) but high attitude and practice scores; only one-third of participants had received food allergy training. Knowledge scores were found to improve with training, however, and gaps in training were identified which mirrored knowledge areas with low scores, suggesting training may not be adequately communicating necessary information. A preference for training to include printed tools for future reference was also found. Part two began the creation of a food allergy reference resource of commonly used packaged foods in Chinese restaurants. Ninety-nine items were identified from wholesale food distributor product lists and ingredient labels were collected and examined for major allergens, adherence to Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act labeling regulations, and, the use of voluntary allergen advisories. All sample items adhered to the required federal labeling, however, ambiguity regarding the declaration of potential allergen sources, allergen labeling formatting, and the inconsistent application of allergen advisory statements were identified as possible barriers to the accurate use and reading of ingredient labels for foodservice employees. A reference resource of commonly used packaged foods in Chinese restaurants was developed from the data. Conclusions and implications for industry and food allergy training developers are discussed.

Copyright Owner

Lilly Jan

Language

en

File Format

application/pdf

File Size

224 pages

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