The perceived openness to interpretation of food inspection grading associates with disagreements between inspectors and food business operators

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Kaskela , J , Ollila , S , Vainio , A & Lunden , J 2021 , ' The perceived openness to interpretation of food inspection grading associates with disagreements between inspectors and food business operators ' , Food Control , vol. 128 , 108207 . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodcont.2021.108207

Title: The perceived openness to interpretation of food inspection grading associates with disagreements between inspectors and food business operators
Author: Kaskela, Jenni; Ollila, Sari; Vainio, Annukka; Lunden, Janne
Contributor organization: Food Hygiene and Environmental Health
Janne Lundén / Principal Investigator
Department of Food and Nutrition
Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS)
Department of Forest Sciences
Forest Economics, Business and Society
Helsinki One Health (HOH)
Food control
Date: 2021-10
Language: eng
Number of pages: 8
Belongs to series: Food Control
ISSN: 0956-7135
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodcont.2021.108207
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/331473
Abstract: In many countries, food safety inspection disclosure systems have been implemented in order to improve food control. However, criticism has also been levelled at these systems, especially regarding grading. Moreover, only a few studies have focused on inspectors, despite the fact that they are responsible, in practice, for applying the disclosure system and grading. To investigate inspectors' perceptions of disclosure, disagreements experienced with food business operators (FBOs) over grading and the factors possibly related to such disagreements, we conducted a questionnaire-based study with Finnish inspectors in 2017. We received 148 answers from 52 out of 62 Finnish local food control units. Most inspectors (90.8%, N = 131) considered that Oiva, the disclosure system introduced in 2013, was at least a somewhat positive change, and almost all inspectors (95.1%, N = 143) considered that disclosure enhanced, at least to some degree, the correction of non-compliances. In general, inspectors had experienced a small number of disagreements over grading with FBOs, but, in relation to some topics, over 20% of inspectors had encountered a high number of disagreements. In our multiple linear regression model, disagreements over grading were associated with the perceived openness to interpretation of grading (B = 0.37, p < 0.001) and differences experienced in risk perception between inspectors and FBOs (B = 0.12, p = 0.001). Most inspectors (67.4%; N = 144) preferred the grading guidelines to contain a small amount of openness to interpretation. Inspectors supported disclosure and considered that the Oiva system had improved food control. However, especially related to grading topics where inspectors perceived the greatest degree of openness to interpretation and the largest number of disagreements over grading with FBOs, inspectors should be further trained and supported. In addition, this study highlights the need for improved consistency in grading especially between the food control units.
Subject: Disclosure
Grading
Inspector
Official food safety inspection
Openness to interpretation
Risk perception
RISK PERCEPTION
SAFETY
INFORMATION
DISCLOSURE
QUALITY
IMPACT
416 Food Science
Peer reviewed: Yes
Rights: cc_by
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: publishedVersion


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