Standardized inspections of food premises during the 2004 Athens Olympic Games: Descriptive analysis and risk factors for unsatisfactory results
Standardized inspections of food premises are part of environmental health systems implemented worldwide. The food safety strategy for the 2004 Olympic Games included standardized inspections to ensure uniformity and consistency of procedures and effective electronic management of data. Inspections were carried out by 196 inspectors in the five Olympic cities: Athens, Thessalonica, Volos, Iraklio, and Patra. From January 2003 to September 2004, a total of 1,249 food premises were inspected. An unsatisfactory inspection result (C grade) was received by 347 (27.8%) food premises, a relatively satisfactory result (B grade) was received by 332 (26.6%), and a satisfactory result (A grade) was received by 570 (45.6%). About 16% of inspected premises did not hold a valid permit. Unsatisfactory inspection results were more frequent for premises located in the two largest Greek cities in comparison with the other smaller cities (relative risk 1.95, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.36 to 2.80). Based on logistic regression analysis, unsatisfactory inspection results were positively associated with food premises that were not located on a ground floor (odds ratio [OR] = 2.56, 95% CI 1.39 to 4.73) and negatively associated with application of hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP) principles (OR 0.27, 95% CI = 0.10 to 0.71). Food hygiene education through formal training programs should be encouraged to improve compliance of food premises. Food premises located on hotel floors and serving buffet meals are at higher risk for unsatisfactory conditions. Businesses that implemented a HACCP system within their operations to ensure food safety operated under more hygienic conditions. Future inspections by Public Health Authorities should involve elements of audit after the legislation for the application of HACCP principles.