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Safe Eats: An Evaluation of the Use of Social Media for Food Safety Education

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Many undergraduate students are cooking for the first time, and they need to learn safe food practices to reduce their risk of foodborne illness. Social media tools are being utilized to disseminate public health messages, but limited research has been conducted to examine the effectiveness of these tools for food safety education. The purpose of this study was to develop and evaluate a social media–based intervention for young adults to improve food safety attitudes, practices, and knowledge. Preliminary surveys were conducted and online focus groups were convened to guide design of this social media intervention. College students (710) were included in treatment and control groups. Results from pretests and posttests indicate that participation in the “Safe Eats” Facebook intervention leads to improvements in food safety attitudes, practices, and knowledge. Although students reported that they learned more from the intervention than from a traditional lecture, the combination of lecture and Facebook resulted in higher knowledge scores than those resulting from the intervention alone. Participants who spent more time on the Facebook page had greater improvements in food safety attitudes and practices.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: University of Georgia, 204 Hoke Smith Annex, 300 Carlton Street, Athens, Georgia 30602, USA 2: University of Georgia, 204 Hoke Smith Annex, 300 Carlton Street, Athens, Georgia 30602, USA., Email:

Publication date: August 1, 2012

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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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