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NC State Extension

Our Research

Dr. Benjamin Chapman and his team focus on researching consumer food safety behavior, but also enjoy dispelling food safety myths and investigating the safety of unusual cooking techniques.

Recent research



  • Levine, K., Chapman, B., and Bloom, D. Evaluation of a training program for volunteer food handlers. Poster presented at: Annual Meeting of the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP). July 11, 2017; Tampa, FL.
  • Levine, K., Chapman, B., and Schaffner, D. pH of state fair entries in North Carolina. Poster presented at: Annual Meeting of the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP). July 11, 2017; Tampa, FL.
  • Bates, T. and Levine, K. Identifying strategies to increase fruit and vegetable consumption among school-age children. Poster presented at the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo, October 21, 2014; Atlanta, GA.
  • Levine, K. and Chapman, B. Evaluation of food safety messages in popular cookbooks. Poster presented at the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo, October 20, 2014; Atlanta, GA.
  • Su, J., Thomas, E., and Chapman, B. Quantifying server perceptions of risk communication associated with ordering burgers in restaurants. Poster presented at IAFP, August 5, 2014; Indianapolis, IN.
  • Smathers, A., Chapman, B., and Phister, T. Cross-contamination risks in reusable grocery shopping bags and potential risks to patrons: a model applied to leafy greens E. coli O157:H7. Poster presented at IAFP, July 22-25, 2012; Providence, RI.
  • Smathers, A. Evaluation of facilities and food safety practices in the North Carolina farmers’ market sector. Poster presented at IFT, June 12, 2011.
    • Abstract: The association between produce and ready-to-eat foods with foodborne illness prompts concern in the North Carolina farmers’ market sector. Since large amounts of produce are sold at farmers’ markets, there is an increased need to protect the farmers’ market sector from foodborne illness. Considering this potential, we designed a method of assessment to measure the food safety culture and awareness of farmers’ market vendors. The objective of this study was to observe the practices carried out at a farmers’ market in order to assess the need for food safety training and information directed specifically toward the promotion of good food safety practices at farmers’ markets. The study used 20 secret shoppers, trained to observe and collect quantitative and qualitative data through observational surveys. During the 2010 market season, secret shoppers provided information that was neither incriminating nor praiseworthy from 37 farmers’ markets and 168 farmers’ market vendors, representing a large sample of North Carolina markets. The information was provided through observational surveys and results were estimated through analysis of survey data. The survey data was used to create trends and relationships to assess the food safety knowledge and practices carried out at a farmers’ market. Our findings highlight the need for food safety improvement in areas such as cross-contamination, hygiene, sanitation, sampling, claims, and storage. Results provide a need for enhancement of food safety at the farmers’ markets in order to protect the farmers’ market sector from being linked to foodborne illness outbreaks. The overall goal of supporting the growth and health of the North Carolina farmers’ markets will continue to be supported through further assessment and education development.
    • Poster


  • Bryant, V., Seymour, N., Levine, K., and Chapman,B. Evaluating a demonstration-based training model for educating environmental health specialists on validation and verification of HACCP plans. Presented at IAFP, July 11, 2017; Tampa, FL.
  • Thomas, E. and Chapman, B. Risk communication when ordering undercooked hamburgers at restaurants. Presentation at IAFP, August 5, 2014; Indianapolis, IN.
  • Thomas, E. and Chapman, B. Exploring temperature patterns of leafy greens in institutional kitchens. Presentation at IAFP, July 24, 2012; Providence, RI.
  • Kreske, A. Using role-play to enhance foodborne illness crisis management capacity with producers. Presented at IAFP, July 31-August 3, 2011.
    • Abstract: Introduction: Industry-damaging foodborne outbreaks have affected the produce industry with increasing magnitude since the mid 1990s. The speed of information flow, facilitated by online discussion, has damaging effects for ill-prepared industries. Addressing food safety for an individual firm includes the ability to manage and respond to a crisis when stakeholders and media are challenging practices and responses. Purpose: Evidence-based workshops utilizing a simulated outbreak situation were developed to expose produce industry members to common actions and potential pitfalls in a crisis. The purpose was to teach good outbreak management practices and encourage participants to enact crisis management plans. This role-play tool immerses participants in an on-going outbreak situation prompting interaction with facilitators to gain knowledge instead of lecture directed content. Methods: Using a quasi-experimental summative evaluation construct, the effectiveness of the role-play approach was evaluated. A survey of the pre-workshop crisis preparation of industry groups was administered. This data was supplemented with an evaluation of the workshops conducted through self-reported pre/post-tests using a Likert scale and in-depth interviews at 1-month post-intervention using open-ended questions. Results: Survey results (n=123) demonstrated only 23% of growers had a crisis management plan in place prior to attendance compared to 81% who employed GAPs. Following the workshop, there was a significant increase in participants’ perception of how important it is to be prepared for a crisis and the likelihood of their products being contaminated with microbial hazards. In follow-up interviews, participants reported an increase in crisis planning and identifying areas needed for improvement as a result of attendance. Significance: The role-play was effective in raising awareness of crisis management gaps, increasing preparation through experience and encouraging conversations regarding other management strategies. By simulating a produce-related outbreak participants had the opportunity to respond and discuss the best strategies to deal with a crisis and initiate recovery thus influencing their crisis preparation.
    • Presentation slides