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Food Safety Study Findings in Plain Language

Read food safety study findings and recommendations from our Environmental Health Specialists Network. Check out our restaurant food safety studies fact sheet [PDF – 151 KB].

We seek to improve public health and industry policies and practices to reduce foodborne illness in restaurants, banquet facilities, schools, and other institutions. Our priority areas are

  • Preventing restaurant workers working when ill.
  • Improving handwashing behaviors and minimizing bare hand contact with food (hand hygiene).
  • Requiring trained, certified kitchen managers to be present during all hours of operation.

We have included results from our studies by several categories, including the above three priorities.

Study Findings on Priority Areas of Sick Workers, Hand Hygiene, and Certification

Sick Workers
Food handling by an infected person or pathogen carrier (an ill worker) contributes to nearly half of all restaurant-related outbreaks.

NEW! You may also be interested in Can Restaurant Managers Talk with Sick Workers? 3 Things Restaurant Managers Need To Know.

Photo: Kitchen staff person washing hands at sink.

Hand Hygiene
Bare hand contact by a food worker is a contributing factor in about 1 of every 3 restaurant-related outbreaks.

CDC and FDA research support that certified kitchen managers increase food safety. Restaurants with certified managers were less likely to be linked with outbreaks, were more likely to comply with FDA Food Code regulations, and had better food safety practices.

Photo of an old sign that reads Food Allergy.

Other Food Handling Practices Associated with Foodborne Illness

Food Allergies

Food Cooling

Food Preparation and Storage

Retail Deli Slicer Cleaning Practices

Photo: Kitchen staff smiling.

Foods Associated with Foodborne Illness



Ground Beef

Leafy Greens

Photo: Close up of gloved hands making a salad.


Restaurant Meals and Illness

Retail Food Safety Programs

What Is Plain Language?

Use of plain language is one way to make sure that information, products, and services are accessible and understandable to their intended audiences.

Approximately one-half of the adult population may lack the needed literacy skills to use the U.S. healthcare system. Low literacy has been linked to poor health outcomes such as higher rates of hospitalization and less frequent use of preventive services. Health literacy is the capacity to obtain, process and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.

For more information about plain language and health literacy at CDC, visit the CDC Health Literacy Web site.