Vol 64, No 3 (2013)
Original article
Published online: 2013-09-25

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Survey on food hygiene knowledge on board ships

Iolanda Grappasonni, Donatella Marconi, Fabrizio Mazzucchi, Fabio Petrelli, Stefania Scuri, Francesco Amenta
IMH 2013;64(3):160-167.


Background and aim: The aim of the study was to evaluate the knowledge and attitudes on food hygiene in seafarers.

Materials and methods: The study was conducted using an anonymous questionnaire presented to the workers of 7 tankers of an Italian shipping company (Finaval S.p.A.). As a reference, the analysis was extended to office employees of the same firm. Data were divided according to the rank of seafarers to assess possible differences in perceiving the risk.

Results: Overall knowledge on food safety concept was not high among seafarers. In general, galley and catering workers group provided a lower percentage of correct answers than other crew members. Foodservices staff revealed little awareness of the risks linked with handling food and their perception of risk of disease transmission through food was low. Answers about risk related to specific food (eggs and fish) showed that knowledge about these problems was less than satisfactory. Moreover, the percentage of ‘I don’t know’ answers was high. These findings suggest that this personnel is aware of the right stepsof health protection in terms of food hygiene, but does not understand why it is necessary.

Conclusions: Galley and catering group workers were not the most informed about food hygiene problems.This highlights the need to hire qualified personnel of the food industry on board ships. All those working inthe food service area should be properly trained on food hygiene. Seafarers should be the target of specificinformative campaigns about health risks linked with aliments, possible consequences of it and also oneson how to minimise the exposure to potentially dangerous agents/behaviours during travel/life at sea.