Objectives: We evaluated the relationship between local food protection capacity and service provision in Maryland's 24 local food protection programs (FPPs) and incidence of foodborne illness at the county level. Methods: We conducted regression analyses to determine the relationship between foodborne illness and local FPP characteristics. We used the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's FoodNet and Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene outbreak data set, along with data on Maryland's local FPP capacity (workforce size and experience levels, budget) and service provision (food service facility inspections, public notification programs). Results: Countieswith higher capacity, such as larger workforce, higher budget, and greater employee experience, had fewer foodborne illnesses. Counties with better performance and county-level regulations, such as high food service facility inspection rates and requiring certified foodmanager programs, respectively, had lower rates of illness. Conclusions: Counties with strong local food protection capacity and services can protect the public from foodborne illness. Research on public health services can enhance our understanding of the food protection infrastructure, and the effectiveness of food protection programs in preventing foodborne illness.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health