New Guidance on Improving Health Equity in Retail Food Safety

More than one in four food service employees speaks a language other than English at home and 22% have not received a high school diploma. A new brief from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) provides guidance to help retail food inspectors overcome communication barriers and cultural differences that may arise during retail food establishment inspections and food safety education.

ASTHO’s brief provides evidence-based approaches and strategies for health agencies to evaluate and enhance their practices to promote health equity in retail food safety programs. The guidance provides strategies in three key areas: addressing communication barriers, designing culturally appropriate materials, and ensuring equitable enforcement.

By reducing communication barriers and cultural differences, public health agencies can create an opportunity for establishments to meet food safety standards and protect public health regardless of ethnicity, culture, or language. Additional information can be found in the guidance document, including implementation examples.