ABSTRACT

Previous surveys have found that few Canadians report using a food thermometer to check cooking doneness, and many report rinsing or washing poultry prior to cooking. A cross-sectional survey study was conducted to investigate the sociodemographic and psychosocial determinants of the reported use of these behaviors among Canadians. A questionnaire was developed, guided by the Theoretical Domains Framework, and pretested through 10 cognitive interviews. The questionnaire was administered in English and French on 18 November 2019, to an online panel of 524 Canadian consumers. Logistic and ordinal regression models were constructed to evaluate determinants of consumers' reported thermometer ownership (yes or no) and thermometer use and poultry washing frequencies (each measured on a 5-point Likert scale). Nearly two-thirds of respondents (64%; n = 333) reported owning a food thermometer. Thermometer ownership was more common among males (odds ratio [OR] = 1.48, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.02, 2.15) and those with higher income categories. Nearly 45% of these respondents (n = 147) reported often or always using their thermometer to check cooking doneness. The frequency of engaging in this behavior was best determined by four psychosocial constructs: behavioral intentions, beliefs about consequences, self-efficacy, and habits. Nearly two-thirds of respondents (64%; n = 333) reported often or always washing their poultry before cooking it. This behavior was more frequently reported by males (OR = 1.51, 95% CI = 1.002, 2.28). It was also predicted by six psychosocial constructs: behavioral intentions, beliefs about consequences, self-efficacy, social influences, social responsibility, and habits. Habits had the largest influence on both behaviors. The study results can inform the development of more targeted food safety education and outreach initiatives to improve these behaviors among Canadians.

HIGHLIGHTS
  • Males and those with higher incomes were more likely to own a food thermometer.

  • Males were also more likely to report washing poultry prior to cooking it.

  • Habits were strong predictors of consumer thermometer use and poultry washing.

  • Various other psychosocial constructs influenced these outcomes among consumers.

  • The Theoretical Domains Framework can explain consumer food safety behaviors.

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