Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 5-2019

Publication Source

Journal of Child Nutrition and Management


Purpose/Objectives: This study explored food traceability systems in school foodservice in the United States and the potential benefits and challenges to their implementation.

Methods: An online questionnaire was developed and used to collect data. A mixed-mode approach was followed to recruit the participants. A convenience sample of 500 school nutrition professionals from Qualtrics panel was targeted for data collection with the goal of having responses from 300 participants. Due to low response rate from the initial panel, the contact information of a second convenience sample of 200 child nutrition professionals with no geographic representation was obtained from the National Center for Education Statistics database. The individuals were invited to participate by email with a link to the questionnaire. Data was analyzed using SPSS. Descriptive statistics were computed to screen and summarize the data. Factor analysis was performed to categorize and identify potential benefits of, and challenges to implementing food traceability systems in school foodservice.

Results: A total of 427 respondents accessed the questionnaire. Only 124 completed questionnaires were retained for a response rate of 24.8%. The findings showed that traceability systems in the investigated districts involve either paper-based or manually entered data systems. The top identified benefits of implementing food traceability systems were supporting food safety, preventing bioterrorism, and cost reduction. Among the top reported challenges to implementing food traceability systems were the unexpected substitution of food by vendors and high cost of implementing advanced traceability systems.



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School Nutrition Association





Peer Reviewed



Food traceability, food safety, school foodservice, traceability systems