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Consumer Food Safety Perceptions and Practices in a Turkish Community

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Abstract:

Research has shown that most reported foodborne outbreaks are caused by food prepared and consumed at home, thus emphasizing the importance of consumer food safety knowledge. In this study, 2,000 randomly selected residents from Çanakkale, Turkey, participated in face-to-face interviews to assess their food safety perceptions and practices. Questions covered the attention given to expiration dates, safety certificates, and food additives during shopping; consumption of high-risk foods; safe food handling; storage knowledge; and their source of food safety knowledge. Statistical analyses were done to clarify the differences according to three main aspects: gender, age, and educational level. Results showed that women and middle-aged respondents were significantly more careful during shopping and more interested in food safety issues than men and younger individuals. A significant relationship was found between gender and consumption of high-risk foods, with men consuming more of these foods than women. Furthermore, high-risk foods were more frequently consumed by young participants than by older participants, with more highly educated consumers shopping more consciously. Although most respondents appeared to know proper food handling and storage practices, almost all participants lacked some information on some issues. In order to remove these deficiencies, a brochure was prepared and distributed to people in various parts of the city. In addition, public seminars were organized. However, to ensure that this information results in positive attitude and behavioral changes, seminars should be repeated at specific intervals, and education procedures and processes should be controlled regularly.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-11-126

Affiliations: 1: Engineering Faculty, Food Engineering Department, Terzioglu Campus, Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University, Çanakkale, 17020 Turkey. dnukhet@hotmail.com 2: Engineering Faculty, Food Engineering Department, Terzioglu Campus, Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University, Çanakkale, 17020 Turkey, Algida Unilever Food Company Çorlu, Tekirdag, 59850, Turkey

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