Advertisement

Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 106, Issue 8, pp e520–e526 | Cite as

Food safety knowledge, attitudes and self-reported practices among Ontario high school students

  • Shannon E. MajowiczEmail author
  • Kenneth J. Diplock
  • Scott T. Leatherdale
  • Chad T. Bredin
  • Steven Rebellato
  • David Hammond
  • Andria Jones-Bitton
  • Joel A. Dubin
Quantitative Research
  • 2 Downloads

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To measure the food safety knowledge, attitudes and self-reported practices of high school students in Ontario.

METHODS: We administered a school-wide paper survey to the student body (n = 2,860) of four Ontario high schools. We developed the survey by selecting questions from existing, validated questionnaires, prioritizing questions that aligned with the Canadian Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education’s educational messages and the food safety objectives from the 2013 Ontario High School Curriculum.

RESULTS: One in five students reported currently handling food in commercial or public-serving venues; of these, 45.1% had ever taken a course that taught them how to prepare food (e.g., food and nutrition classes, food handler certification). Food safety knowledge among respondents was low. For example, 17.3% knew that the best way to determine whether hamburgers were cooked enough to eat was to measure the temperature with a food thermometer. Despite low knowledge, most respondents (72.7%) reported being confident that they could cook safe, healthy meals for themselves and their families. Safe food handling practices were frequently self-reported. Most students (86.5%) agreed that being able to cook safe, healthy meals was an important life skill, although their interest in learning about safe food handling and concern about foodborne disease were less pronounced.

CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that food safety knowledge is low, yet confidence in preparing safe, healthy meals is high, among high school students. Because work and volunteer opportunities put students in contact with both the public and food, this group is important to target for increased education about safe food handling.

Keywords

Food safety food handling students education adolescent Ontario 

Résumé

OBJECTIFS : Mesurer les connaissances, les attitudes et les pratiques autodéclarées d’élèves du secondaire de l’Ontario en matière de salubrité des aliments.

MÉTHODE : Nous avons administré un sondage sur papier à tous les élèves (n = 2 860) de quatre écoles secondaires de l’Ontario. Nous avons élaboré le sondage en choisissant des questions de questionnaires validés existants, en privilégiant les questions conformes aux messages éducatifs du Partenariat canadien pour la salubrité des aliments et aux objectifs de salubrité des aliments des programmes d’études secondaires de l’Ontario en 2013.

RÉSULTATS : Un élève sur cinq a déclaré manipuler des aliments dans des établissements commerciaux ou de service à la clientèle; de ce nombre, 45,1% avaient déjà suivi un cours de préparation des aliments (classes sur l’alimentation et la nutrition, formation des préposés à la manipulation des aliments). Les connaissances en salubrité des aliments chez les répondants étaient faibles. Par exemple, seulement 17,3% savaient que le meilleur moyen de déterminer si des hamburgers sont assez cuits pour être mangés est d’en mesurer la température avec un thermomètre de cuisson. Malgré leur manque de connaissances, la plupart des répondants (72,7%) ont dit être sûrs de pouvoir cuire des repas sains et salubres pour eux-mêmes et leur famille. Ils ont souvent déclaré avoir des pratiques de manipulation hygiénique des aliments. La plupart des élèves (86,5%) convenaient que d’être capables de cuire des repas sains et salubres était une compétence essentielle, mais leur intérêt pour l’apprentissage de la manipulation hygiénique des aliments et leur préoccupation pour les intoxications alimentaires étaient moins prononcés.

CONCLUSION : Nos constatations montrent que les connaissances sur la salubrité des aliments sont faibles chez les élèves du secondaire, mais que ces élèves sont très sûrs de pouvoir préparer des repas sains et salubres. Étant donné que les occasions d’emploi et de bénévolat mettent les élèves en contact avec le public et les aliments, il est important de cibler ce groupe pour accroître leurs connaissances de la manipulation hygiénique des aliments.

Mots Clés

salubrité des aliments manipulation des aliments étudiants enseignement adolescent Ontario 

References

  1. 1.
    Thomas MK, Murray R, Flockhart L, Pintar K, Pollari F, Fazil A, et al. Estimates of the burden of foodborne illness in Canada for 30 specified pathogens and unspecified agents circa 2006. Foodborne Pathog Dis 2013; 10(7):639–48. PMID: 23659355. doi: 10.1089/fpd.2012.1389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Byrd-Bredbenner C, Berning J, Martin-Biggers J, Quick V. Food safety in home kitchens: A synthesis of the literature. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2013;10(9):4060–85. PMID: 24002725. doi: 10.3390/ijerph10094060.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Lee MB, Middleton D. Enteric illness in Ontario Canada, from 1997 to 2001. J Food Prot 2003;66(6):953–61. PMID: 12800994.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Nesbitt A, Majowicz SE, Finley R, Marshall B, Pollari F, Sargeant J, et al. High-risk food consumption and food safety practices in a Canadian community. J Food Prot 2009;7(12):2575–86. PMID: 20003742.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Byrd-Bredbenner C, Maurer J, Wheatley V, Schaffner D, Bruhn C, Blalock L. Food safety self-reported behaviors and cognitions of young adults: Results of a national study. J Food Prot 2007;70(8):1917–26. PMID: 17803150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Morrone M, Rathbun A. Health education and food safety behavior in the university setting. J Environ Health 2003;65(7):9–15. PMID: 12645419.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Unklesbay N, Sneed J, Toma R. College students’ attitudes, practices, and knowledge of food safety. J Food Prot 1998;61(9):1175–80. PMID: 9766071.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Abbot JM, Policastro P, Bruhn C, Schaffner DW, Byrd-Bredbenner C. Development and evaluation of a university campus-based food safety media campaign for young adults. J Food Prot 2012;75(6):1117–24. PMID: 22691481. doi: 10.4315/0362-028XJFP-11-506.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Haapala I, Probart C. Food safety knowledge perceptions, and behaviors among middle school students. J Nutr Educ Behav 2004;36(2):71–76. PMID: 15068755. doi: 10.1016/S1499-4046(06)60136-X.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Stein SE, Dirks BP, Quinlan JJ. Assessing and addressing safe food handling knowledge attitudes, and behaviors of college undergraduates. J Food Sci Educ 2010;9:47–52. doi: 10.1111/j.1541-4329.2010.00092.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Majowicz SE, Doré K, Flint JA, Edge V, Read S, Buffett C, et al. Magnitude and distribution of acute self-reported gastrointestinal illness in a Canadian community. Epidemiol Infect 2004;132(4):607–17. PMID: 15310162. doi: 10.1017/S0950268804002353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Waltner-Toews D. Food, Sex, and Salmonella: Why our Food is Making Us Sick. Vancouver, BC: First Greystone Books 2008 edition.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Eves A, Bielby G, Egan B, Lumbers ML, Raats MM, Adams MR. Food hygiene knowledge and self-reported behaviours of UK school children (4–14 years). Br Food J 2006;108(9):706–20. doi: 10.1108/00070700610688359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Fischer ARH, Frewer LJ, Nauta MJ. Toward improving food safety in the domestic environment: A multi-item Rasch scale for the measurement of the safety efficacy of domestic food handling practices. Risk Anal 2006; 26(5):1323–38. PMID: 17054534.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Rebellato S, Cholewa S, Chow J, Poon D. Impact of PROTON a food handler certification course on food handlers’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviours. J Food Safety 2011;32(1):129–33. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-4565.2011.00359.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Leatherdale ST, Brown KS, Carson V, Childs RA, Dubin JA, Elliott SJ, et al. The COMPASS study: A longitudinal hierarchical research platform for evaluating natural experiments related to changes in school- level programs policies and built environment resources. BMC Public Health 2014;14:331. PMID: 24712314. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-14-331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Leatherdale ST, Cole A. Examining the impact of changes in school tobacco control policies and programs on current smoking and susceptibility to future smoking among youth in the first two years of the COMPASS study: looking back to move forward. Tob Induc Dis 2015;13(1):8. PMID: 25834482. doi: 10.1186/s12971-015-0031-1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Yarrow L, Remig VM, Higgins MM. Food safety educational intervention positively influences college students’ food safety attitudes beliefs, knowledge, and self-reported practices. J Environ Health 2009;71(6):30–35. PMID: 19192742.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Lynch RA, Steen MD, Pritchard TJ, Buzzell PR, Pintauro SJ. Delivering food safety education to middle school students using a web-based, interactive, multimedia, computer program. J Food Sci Educ 2008;7(2):35–42. doi: 10.1111/ j.1541-4329.2007.00046.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Byrd-Bredbenner C, Wheately V, Schaffner D, Bruhn C, Blalock L, Maurer J. Development and implementation of a food safety knowledge instrument. J Food Sci Educ 2007;6(3):46–55. doi: 10.1111/j.1541-4329.2007.00029.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Byrd-Bredbenner C, Wheatley V, Schaffner D, Bruhn C, Blalock L, Maurer J. Development of food safety psychosocial questionnaires for young adults. J Food Sci Educ 2007;6(2):30–37. doi: 10.1111/j.1541-4329.2007.00021.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Government of Ontario. The Ontario Curriculum Grades 9 to 12: Social Sciences and Humanities. 2013 (revised).Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Rogers WH. Regression standard errors in clustered samples. In: Stata Technical Bulletin 13:19-23. Reprinted in Stata Technical Bulletin Reprints. College Station TX: Stata Press 1993, vol. 3, pp. 88–94.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Mody RK, Meyer S, Trees E, White PL, Nguyen T, Sowadsky R, et al. Outbreak of Salmonella enterica serotype I 4,5,12:i:- infections: The challenges of hypothesis generation and microwave cooking. Epidemiol Infect 2014;142(5):1050–60. PMID: 23916064. doi: 10.1017/S0950268813001787.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Currie A, MacDougall L, Aramini J, Gaulin C, Ahmed R, Isaacs S. Frozen chicken nuggets and strips and eggs are leading risk factors for Salmonella Heidelberg infections in Canada. Epidemiol Infect 2005;133(5):809–16. PMID: 16181499.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Abbot JM, Byrd-Bredbenner C, Schaffner D, Bruhn CM, Blalock L. Comparison of food safety cognitions and self-reported food-handling behaviors with observed food safety behaviors of young adults. Eur J Clin Nutr 2009;63(4):572–79. PMID: 18000516.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Kendall PA, Elsbernd A, Sinclair K, Schroeder M, Chen G, Bergmann V, et al. Observation versus self-report: validation of a consumer food behavior questionnaire. J Food Prot 2004; 67(11):2578–86. PMID: 15553645.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Redmond EC, Griffith CJ. A comparison and evaluation of research methods used in consumer food safety studies. Int Journal Consumer Studies 2003;27(1):17–33. doi: 10.1046/j.1470-6431.2003.00283.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Service Canada. Client Segment Profile Youth Aged 15 to 29, Ontario. April 2014.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Government of Ontario. YOUTHCONNECT.CA. Available at: http://www.youth-connect.ca/htdocs/english/getinvolved/whatasp#food (Accessed June 25, 2015).

Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shannon E. Majowicz
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kenneth J. Diplock
    • 1
    • 2
  • Scott T. Leatherdale
    • 1
  • Chad T. Bredin
    • 3
  • Steven Rebellato
    • 1
  • David Hammond
    • 1
  • Andria Jones-Bitton
    • 4
  • Joel A. Dubin
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.School of Public Health and Health SystemsUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada
  2. 2.School of Health and Life Sciences and Community ServicesConestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced LearningKitchenerCanada
  3. 3.Propel Centre for Population Health ImpactUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada
  4. 4.Department of Population MedicineUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada
  5. 5.Department of Statistics and Actuarial ScienceUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

Personalised recommendations