Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department or School

Health Sciences

Committee Member

Anahita M. Mistry, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Lynne M. Shetron-Rama, Ph.D., M.T. (ASCP)

Committee Member

Alice Jo Rainville, Ph.D., R.D., C.H.E., S.N.S., F.A.N.D.


As technology advances, smart phone (SP) use is on the rise, including in foodservice establishments. Likewise, the incidence of foodborne-illness in the United States remains high. The presence of disease-responsible microorganisms on health care employees’ mobile phones is well-documented, but little research has examined this relationship concerning foodservice employees’ SPs. Employees (n=50) from a Michigan foodservice establishment were surveyed for their SP use behaviors, and their SPs were swabbed to detect Salmonella, coliforms, and norovirus. Poor hygienic behaviors, such as SP use in the bathroom (75.5%, n=37) were widespread. ServSafe®-certified employees (46%, n=23) were significantly (p=0.041) less likely to use SPs in the bathroom and washed hands significantly (p=0.035) more frequently before SP use after sneezing and coughing. Scarce coliform growth (4.1 %, n=2), but no Salmonella or norovirus was found on SPs. Unhygienic behaviors reported with SP use during work, necessitate developing policies for SP use by foodservice personnel.