High school students have limited food safety knowledge and lack safe food-handling skills. However, high-school-aged youth are frequently employed in food service and will prepare food for themselves. This study evaluated the effectiveness of a food safety educational intervention at changing students’ food-handling behaviors using the Theory of Planned Behavior construct to assess factors that contribute to behavior change. A combination of stationary and wearable (GoPro) cameras was used to observe the food-handling practices of high school students in key areas that included thermometer use, handwashing and hand drying, glove-changing, and environmental cleaning. The percentage of correct food-handling techniques was measured categorically, and the number of groups who complied with thermometer use and environmental cleaning was recorded. Students’ demonstrated significant increases in the percentage of correct handwashing, hand drying, and glove-changing events performed in the post-observation cooking session. However, the percentage of correct handwashing and glove-changing events remained below 50% for certain subcategories: handwashing time (38%), handwashing after handling raw produce (36%) and touching skin (20%), changing gloves after gloves became contaminated or torn (47%), and washing hands between glove changes (15%). Subjective norms were crucial to motivating personal food-handling behavior change. Students modified their behaviors to comply with subjective norms related to the study including instructor expectations, but some students did not plan to change the behaviors they practiced at home. Students cited food-handling behaviors they observed from their parents when making decisions about how to prepare food. This study highlights the need for the development of food safety educational interventions that encourage safe food-handling skill acquisition and addresses influences from key subjective norm groups.
Research Article| June 25 2020
Observational Evaluation of Food Safety Curricula on High School Students’ Behavior Change
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Tressie Barrett, Yaohua Feng; Observational Evaluation of Food Safety Curricula on High School Students’ Behavior Change. J Food Prot doi: https://doi.org/10.4315/JFP-20-086
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