, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 47-57,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Food safety at home: knowledge and practices of consumers

Abstract

Aim

To define food safety and risk perception of foodborne diseases in the private home setting and identify specific behaviours during food purchase, storage and preparation in a large survey study.

Subject and methods

A large sample of individuals (n = 1,000) living in the area of Cassino, Italy, volunteered to participate in the study. All participants were randomly recruited and underwent a questionnaire-based interview at their home regarding food-safety measures. Logistic regression analyses were used to test for correlations between demographic characteristics and knowledge/behaviours of food diseases. Risks of hazardous practices in the home were calculated according to educational, physical, occupational and marital status. All analyses were performed using the EPIINFO 3.5 statistical program.

Results

Our data showed that there was an insufficient amount of knowledge regarding foodborne diseases and pathogens. In most families, we found that there was a lack of correct adherence to food hygiene, mainly due to errors during both food preparation and storage. There was a higher risk for food safety errors in families with children, older persons and pregnant women.

Conclusion

Our findings confirm that the home environment represents an important site for the spread of pathogens responsible for foodborne diseases. In order to adopt good hygiene practices in the home setting, consumers need to be informed about safety procedures of domestic food handling, storage and preparation.