Food Safety Knowledge and Practice in Low-income Families in the United States: An Exploratory Study

Pei Liu

Biblographic citation: Food Protection Trends, vol. 40, no. 2, pp. 80-94, Mar 2020

Volume 40, Issue 2: Pages 80–94

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A survey was carried out to evaluate the food safety knowledge and practices among consumers in low-income families in the U.S. Data was collected from 234 consumers who had received food or food stamps from local food banks/pantries in the past year. Participants had poor knowledge about how often they should sanitize their kitchen sink (26.9%), which practices cause food poisoning (33.8%), and which foods are most likely associated with Listeria bacteria (12.8%). Participants who had experienced foodborne illnesses had better food safety knowledge (10.64 ± 2.78; P < 0.05), attitudes (3.70 ± 0.43; P < 0.05), and practices (3.25 ± 0.54; P < 0.1) than those who had not. Information from health professionals (54.3%), friends or family (44.9%), and written material from the USDA or FDA (44.9%) as well as university scientists (32.9%) were seen as the most trustworthy sources by participants. Food safety educators should increase awareness of the food safety risks associated with home cooking (e.g., common sources of foodborne disease pathogens and cooking times and temperatures) and develop educational strategies tailored to consumers from low-income families in the U.S.

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