Food safety knowledge and practices of consumers in the USA

Department of Nutritional Science and Dietetics, University of Nebraska - Lincoln, Lincoln, NE, U.S.A.
International IJC (Impact Factor: 0.66). 07/2007; 19(2):119 - 134. DOI: 10.1111/j.1470-6431.1995.tb00537.x


Use of safe food handling practices in the home could reduce the number of foodborne illnesses. The objective of this project was to obtain baseline data on the safe food handling knowledge and practices of consumers to aid in the development of effective educational programmes. A food handling questionnaire was developed and completed by 426 Nebraskan respondents. Knowledge and practice questions were based on the most important contributory factors in reported foodborne illness outbreaks. Knowledge scores (correct responses) ranged from 2 to 29 with a mean of 20 ± 4. When compared with the knowledge score, the respondents' education level, where they lived and their sex were statistically significant. Almost all (96%) of the respondents stated that they practised safe food handling when persons were infected. Approximately half of the respondents indicated that they practised safe food handling when handling contaminated raw foods and using foods from unsafe sources. About 45% of the respondents inappropriately left foods at room temperature. One-third of the survey respondents improperly held hot foods. Cross-contamination was a concept understood by 75% of the respondents. Results indicate that food safety education should be targeted on specific groups who are less knowledgeable about safe food handling practices. Results also indicate that a number of respondents knew proper food handling concepts but did not put those concepts into practice. Therefore, increasing the adoption of safe food handling practices by consumers should become an important aspect for educators in food safety educational programmes.

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    • "Numerous surveys have been conducted to determine food safety attitudes, knowledge and practices (Albrecht, 1995; Altekruse, Yang, Timbo, & Angulo, 1999; Angelillo, Vigiani, Rizzo, & Bianco, 2000; Brewer & Prestat, 2002; Brewer & Rojas, 2008; Bruhn & Schutz, 1999; Kennedy et al., 2005; Raab & Woodburn, 1997; Redmond & Griffith, 2004a,b,c; Roseman & Kurzynske, 2006) among general consumers and have found unsafe food handling practices despite acceptable food safety knowledge. The effect of gender, ethnicity, and age on risky food behaviors has been studied (Patil, Morales, Cates, Anderson, & Kendall, 2004; Redmond & Griffith, 2003) and food safety knowledge and practices of specific populations have been reported (Anderson, Shuster, Hansen, Levy, & Volk, 2004; Boone et al., 2005; Byrd- Bredbenner, Abbot, & Quick, 2010; Cates, Carter-Young, Conley, & O'Brien, 2004; Daniels, Daniels, Gilmet, & Noonan, 2001; Gettings & Kiernan, 2001; Johnson et al., 1998; Li-Cohen & Bruhn, 2002; Lin, Jensen, & Yen, 2005; Unklesbay, Sneed, & Toma, 1998; Wenrich , Cason, Nan, & Kassab, 2003). "
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    ABSTRACT: Food preparers in families with young children are responsible for safe food preparation and handling to prevent foodborne illness. To explore the food safety perceptions, beliefs, and practices of primary food preparers in families with children 10 years of age and younger, a mixed methods convergent parallel design and constructs of the Health Belief Model were used. A random sampling of 72 primary food handlers (36.2 ± 8.6 years of age, 88% female) within young families in urban and rural areas of two Midwestern states completed a knowledge survey and participated in ten focus groups. Quantitative data were analyzed using SPSS. Transcribed interviews were analyzed for codes and common themes. Forty four percent scored less than the average knowledge score of 73%. Participants believe children are susceptible to foodborne illness but perceive its severity to be low with gastrointestinal discomfort as the primary outcome. Using safe food handling practices and avoiding inconveniences were benefits of preventing foodborne illness. Childcare duties, time and knowledge were barriers to practicing food safety. Confidence in preventing foodborne illness was high, especially when personal control over food handling is present. The low knowledge scores and reported practices revealed a false sense of confidence despite parental concern to protect their child from harm. Food safety messages that emphasize the susceptibility and severity of foodborne illness in children are needed to reach this audience for adoption of safe food handling practices.
    Appetite 11/2013; 73. DOI:10.1016/j.appet.2013.10.015 · 2.69 Impact Factor
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    • "A significant percentage of consumers (69%) allowed hot foods to be cooled at ambient temperature, while only 17.9 % placed foods 'sometimes' in shallow containers to be cooled in the refrigerator. In a United States survey, 45% of consumer inappropriately left foods at room temperature after heating (Albrecht,1995 "
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    ABSTRACT: There has been minimal research on consumer food safety knowledge, perception and food handling practices at homes in Trinidad, West Indies. Questions were asked on the demographic characteristics of 84 respondents, reporting of food -borne illness, hand washing practices, purchase of foods, separation of raw and cooked foods, cooking of foods, thawing and cooling of foods and consumption of raw eggs. The study found 52.4% of consumers had experienced some form of food-borne illness with main symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea (48.8%). Of those who had experienced food borne illness, only 23.8% sought medical treatment. If a food was found to be tampered or contaminated, most consumers (69.0%) failed to report to the relevant authorities. Most respondents washed their hands with soap and water before preparation of meals (88.1%), after using the toilet facilities 92.9% and after handling raw foods or contaminated objects (84.5%). The minority of respondents (4.8%) purchased foods from vendors who did not display food badges, while some (35.7%) 'sometimes' bought foods. When consumers were asked whether they looked at food labels and expiry dates before purchase of foods, 61.9% responded in the affirmative, while 33.3% indicated 'sometimes' Some (16.7%) consumers did not separate cooked or ready to eat foods from raw foods. Most consumers washed vegetables (97.6%) and meat (91.7%) before serving or cooking. Some consumers (45.2%) thawed frozen foods at room temperature, while others (33.3%) did so 'sometimes'. Although the study was of limited sample size, it emphasized the need for public food safety education to consumers. _________________________________________________________________________ INTRODUCTION International studies (Bryan 1988; Scott et al., 1982, Scott, 1996) indicate that a significant proportion of foodborne illness arises from practices in the home kitchen. In Europe, the home was one of the most frequent places of acquiring foodborne illness (WHO, 1992). Epidemiological studies have indicated that sporadic cases or small outbreaks in homes account for the majority of food poisoning incidents (Worsfold and Griffith, 1997). With a population of about 1.26 million in Trinidad and Tobago, (Tradeport, 2003), there has been little research on food safety issues of consumers. Trinidad has a well -established and growing middle class who will continue to demand ready and convenience foods. As in other modern societies, many women work outside the home and thus there are increasing demands on homemaker's time (Trinidad and Tobago: Food Market Reports 1996). A considerable amount of food preparation and handling occurs in the domestic environment, so research and consumer education regarding the risk of unsafe food-handling practices is an essential element of the prevention of foodborne disease (Kaferstein, 1997). People's behavior at home is probably a good reflection of their knowledge or at least what they believe is important (Daniels, 1998). Ask someone about food -borne disease and the initial response will be reflection on a personal experience. Most will recount some dramatic episode in which they ate 'the incriminated item' and before they knew it they were feeling ill. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta has estimated that about one-third of the inhabitants in the United States acquire a food borne disease annually (Griffiths, 2002). Every day in the United States, roughly 200,000 people are sickened by a food-borne disease, 900 are hospitalized and 14 die (Schlosser 2001) The Caribbean Epidemiology Centre (CAREC, 2002) reported that there were 2597 reported cases of food-borne illness in 2000 and 1905 cases in 2001 (as up to 8 th February, 2002) for CAREC member countries. While adequate, nutritious and safe food is essential to human survival, food can also cause or convey risks to health and even life itself. International concern about consumer food safety knowledge has prompted considerable research to evaluate domestic food-handling practices (Redmond and Griffith, 2003).
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