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The association between ambient temperature changes and proper food holding temperature violations in San Diego County during 2017-2019
Lagana, Princess Dheimee
Quintana, Penelope J.E.
Hoh, EunhaHong, Mee Young
With the continued global temperature rise, heat waves are expected to increase in intensity and magnitude, and hot summer days will be longer in duration by mid-century, resulting to damaging and irreversible outcomes. Increased heat affects the epidemiological cycle of disease-causing agents by promoting favorable environmental conditions for pathogens to proliferate, contaminate, and infect vulnerable hosts. It is estimated that 48 million preventable foodborne illnesses occur annually and routine inspection of retail food facilities plays a significant role in maintaining food safety. While the relationship between increased ambient temperature and foodborne illness has been widely investigated, limited research has been conducted in regards to the implications of ambient temperature on food temperature holding violations, which is one of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) top 5 risk factors for foodborne illness. This study analyzed the relationship between increased ambient temperature by examining daily maximum temperatures and hot and cold holding temperature violations that occurred during routine restaurant inspections in the County of San Diego from 2017-2019. Inspection data from 2017-2019 was provided by the San Diego County Department of Environmental Health Food and Housing Division. Analysis of the dataset revealed that hot and cold holding temperature violations was the most frequently cited violation at restaurants and among the 16 different food business types, restaurants had the greatest rate of hot and cold holding temperature violations per inspection. Daily maximum temperatures were significantly positively correlated with the fraction of improper temperature holding violations per inspection (r= 0.315; p< 0.001). Medium-sized restaurant facilities produced the greatest proportion of violations for improper hot/cold holding temperature per violation (0.343) compared to small (0.302) and large (0.330) sized restaurants (p <0.001). Among other CDC 5 risk factors, small-sized restaurants had significantly higher violations than other restaurant size for the violation of food from unsafe sources (p <0.001). Although this study was unable to specifically investigate cold holding temperature violations, data indicates that increased efforts in monitoring critical temperature violations and food handling practices at restaurants should be considered to prevent foodborne illnesses that may be indirectly and directly caused by climate change.
Health and Human Services
San Diego State University
Master of Public Health (MPH) San Diego State University, 2021
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