Building Better Bakeries: An Investigation of Coloradan Sourdough Bread Producers’ Knowledge of Food Safety

College of Health and Human Sciences

Food Science and Human Nutrition



(Arapahoe, Boulder, Weld)

Primary Topic:

Food and Agriculture

Other Topics:

Health and Well-Being

Lead Mentor:  

Charlene Van Buiten

Assistant Professor

Internship Overview:

The proposed internship program is an extension of last year’s funded internship, “Building Better Breads: An Investigation of Coloradoan Sourdough Breads and Consumer Perceptions of Healthfulness” wherein Coloradan consumers were surveyed for their perceptions about the healthfulness of sourdough bread, especially related to celiac disease and other gluten intolerances. From these data, we found that individuals with non-celiac gluten sensitivity and those who are self-diagnosed were most likely to consume artisanal sourdough breads made with wheat-based ingredients. This year’s follow-up study will survey the artisanal producers of these breads to assess their general knowledge of gluten and gluten intolerances, their production protocols relating to cross contamination, and the interactions that they have had with customers with regard to gluten intolerances and safety.

Over the course of this program, the summer intern will help with survey development and learn about conducting qualitative research. They will also be exposed to the Institutional Review Board (IRB) that is required to approve all research involving human subjects. The summer intern will be responsible for the distribution of the survey and collection of data. After data is collected, they will learn to analyze the results of the study and use those findings to generate educational materials surrounding general knowledge about gluten and gluten intolerances, and safe production and handling of gluten-containing items for facilities that produce gluten-free products. This program will allow the summer intern to gain experience participating in a research project that spans food science, nutrition and educational outreach. This professional development experience will be targeted towards students who aim to pursue a career in food science education and outreach.

Goals, Scope and Objectives:

The overarching objective of this internship is to survey artisanal bread producers in Colorado about their knowledge of gluten intolerances such as celiac disease and practices they engage in to mitigate risk of gluten toxicity for individuals with these conditions.

Under the guidance of the mentoring team, the Extension summer intern will complete the following aims:
o Investigate producer perceptions and practices related to sourdough bread production and gluten intolerances
– Develop survey for sourdough producers to gather information about production practices, gluten knowledge and perceptions of sourdough healthfulness
– Meet with extension professionals to gather input on survey and identify additional questions relevant to stakeholder interests
– Distribute survey and collect producer data
– Develop educational outreach materials for consumers and producers about gluten safety and cross-contamination; develop educational materials for bread producers to use in their production facilities based on survey fundings
– Creation of social media materials for CSU Extension Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram
– Design downloadable material for Extension websites
– Assist with development and delivery of a 1-hour webinar to share with Extension for future use

With which stakeholder group(s) will the intern work?

The intern will work with producers (professional bakers) of sourdough bread in the state of Colorado.

What student learning outcomes do you anticipate and what are the opportunities for professional development?

This project will provide the student with the opportunity to develop qualitative research skills through the development, dissemination and analysis of the survey portion of this project. The student will also learn how to develop effective outreach materials and delivery the information to Extension professionals.
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