Aims: Several food poisoning outbreaks in Jordan were due to Salmonella species isolated from chicken shawerma. This study aimed to assess the food safety knowledge among chicken shawerma food handlers in Jordan.
Methods: Forty chicken shawerma restaurants in Amman were selected randomly and 120 food handlers (Egyptians 53%, Jordanians 26% and Syrians 19%) were interviewed using a structured questionnaire. Descriptive and multivariate data analysis was conducted to assess their knowledge about food safety.
Results: Low overall mean score of food safety knowledge (40%); the mean percent of correct answers about transportation, receiving of chicken shawerma, storage, preparation, selling, and controlling microorganisms were: 63%, 54%, 45%, 31%, and 26%, respectively. Ninety percent of the participants had no previous training in food safety concepts. Better food safety knowledge was significantly associated (p > 0.05) with higher educational levels, receiving special training in food safety and having a Jordanian nationality.
Conclusions: This study recommends establishing a comprehensive food safety program in Jordan to build the capacity of the food handlers and enforce periodic evaluation of their food safety knowledge and evidence-based best practices.