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College Students' Attitudes, Practices, and Knowledge of Food Safety

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A survey instrument was developed to assess attitudes, practices, and knowledge of food safety of college students in three U.S. geographic locations. Eight hundred twenty-four students in both food-related (one-third of sample) and nonfood-related disciplines completed the questionnaire during classroom periods. Data were analyzed to obtain total attitude, practice, and safety scores, with emphasis given to analyzing differences among disciplines and demographic characteristics. Mean scores were given for each of the survey items, and results from open-ended questions were discussed. Dietetic, food science, nutrition, and health majors had significantly (≤0.05) higher attitude scores than students majoring in other disciplines. No differences were found among disciplines for the practice scores, which ranged from 74 to 79% of the total possible practice score. Students enrolled in dietetics, arts and science (physical sciences), and veterinary medicine had significantly (≤0.05) higher knowledge scores, although the highest mean score (for dietetics) was only 74% of the total possible score. Women who had enrolled in a college course that included food safety information had significantly (≤0.05) higher attitude and practice scores. Such course enrollment led to both genders having significantly (≤0.05) higher knowledge scores than those without this opportunity. Implications were given for using these data to encourage college professors in food-related disciplines to become involved with the education of all future consumers, especially as the prevalence of food safety controversies is likely to increase as the food supply changes and technology becomes more sophisticated.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Missouri-Columbia, College of Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources, Food Science & Human Nutrition Department, 122 Eckles Hall, Columbia, Missouri 65211, USA 2: Kent State University, School of Family & Consumer Studies, P.O. Box 5190, Kent, Ohio 44242-0001, USA 3: California State University-Long Beach, Department of Foods and Nutrition, Long Beach, California 90840, USA

Publication date: September 1, 1998

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    The Journal of Food Protection (JFP) is a refereed monthly publication. Each issue contains scientific research and authoritative review articles reporting on a variety of topics in food science pertaining to food safety and quality. The Journal is internationally recognized as the leading publication in the field of food microbiology with a readership exceeding 11,000 scientists from 70 countries. The Journal of Food Protection is indexed in Index Medicus, Current Contents, BIOSIS, PubMed, Medline, and many others.

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