The effect of a basic food safety intervention on food safety knowledge in U.S. young adults: an intervention trial

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The true number of food borne illness occurrences that stem from the home is largely unknown, but researchers believe the number is much greater than represented in national data. The

The true number of food borne illness occurrences that stem from the home is largely unknown, but researchers believe the number is much greater than represented in national data. The focus on food safety has generally been directed at food service establishments, which have made great strides at improving the methods of how their food is prepared. However, that same drive for proper food safety education is lacking in home kitchens, where the majority of food is prepared. Young adults are among some of the riskiest food preparers, and limited research and education methods have been tested on this vulnerable population. This study examined the effect of a basic food safety intervention on consumer food safety knowledge in young adults in the United States (U.S.) over a week period. The study had a pre/post survey design, where participants answered a survey, watched a short 10-minute video, and then recompleted the same survey a week later. Ninety-one participants age 18-29 years completed the initial food safety knowledge questionnaire. Twenty-six of those participants completed both the pre- and post-intervention food safety knowledge questionnaires. A paired t-test was used to analyze changes in questionnaire scores pre/post intervention. The majority of participants were female (78.9%), Arizona State University (ASU) students (78.0%), did not have any formal food safety education (58.2%), prepared a minimum of one meal per week from home (96.7%), and had completed 0-1 college nutrition courses (64.8%). The average overall score for all participants who completed the initial questionnaire was 62.6%. For those that took both the initial questionnaire and the follow up questionnaire (n=26), their scores shifted from 66.8% to 65.5% after the intervention. Scores increased significantly only for one question post-intervention: 38.5% (n=10) to 53.8% (n=14) for the safest method for cooling a large pot of hot soup (p = 0.050). This was the first study of its kind to test a video intervention in attempts to increase food safety knowledge in young adults, and additional studies must be done to solidify the results of this study. Other means of education should be explored as well to determine the best way of reaching this population and others.