Food Safety Knowledge and Self-Reported Practice among Campers in the United States

Pei Liu, Soojin Lee Biblographic citation: Food Protection Trends, vol. 41, no. 2, pp. 216-231, Mar 2021 Volume 41, Issue 2: Pages 216–231

Food safety during camping is an important part of outdoor safety and a healthy eating experience. A significant number of foodborne illness outbreaks occurring at campsites in the United States could be due to the lack of food safety training for campers. Although camping is growing in popularity in the United States, topics regarding camping food safety have been underresearched. The present study focused on assessing food safety knowledge and self-reported practices in a sample of 286 campers in the United States via an online survey. Cross-contamination and time and temperature were the two top food safety categories, whereas groups at greatest risk, risky foods, and common pathogens were the least important at-risk categories. Independent t-tests and one-way analyses of variance indicated that significant differences in food safety knowledge exist according to gender, ethnicity, and education. Food safety knowledge did not differ among age groups; younger campers knew more about the time and temperature category than did older campers. Pearson’s correlation analysis revealed a significant correlation between food safety knowledge, previous training, and self-reported practices. Nevertheless, camping experiences and food service work experience did not increase food safety knowledge. These results suggest that camping food safety educators should provide training through demonstration-based learning to better improve campers’ safe food handling practices, which would also result in prevention of foodborne illness outbreaks during camping outings.

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