A needs assessment of practices and procedures in African food safety testing laboratories

Siroj Pokharel, Robson A.M. Machado, Catherine N. Cutter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A needs assessment was designed and disseminated to gather information on the behavior, attitude, knowledge, and skills of personnel in food safety testing laboratories in three African countries. Data were collected via a self-assessment (completed online) and during on-site visits (approximately 3 months later). The results demonstrated discrepancies between self-assessed and observed know-ledge, behavior, attitudes, and skills/practices in the area of food safety. For example, answers to behavioral (10/24, 42%) and attitudinal (8/18, 44%) survey quest-ions, by means of which participants self-assessed their agreement levels, were found to be contradicted during on-site visits. Similarly, discrepancies (self-assessed and observed) were observed in laboratory infrastructure (11/30; 37%), the number of samples analyzed (5/5; 100%), and general laboratory practices (4/8; 50%). Additionally, self-reported food safety knowledge and laboratory skills were found to be conflicting during on-site visits. As a result of this assessment, a number of issues and/or gaps were identified in the areas of laboratory infrastructure, sample handling, testing methodologies, data analyses, maintenance, troubleshooting, and training. The information from this assessment will be used to develop, deliver, and evaluate a curriculum that can be used to train food safety laboratory personnel in Africa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-381
Number of pages19
JournalFood Protection Trends
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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