I Read It on Reddit: Food Safety Information-Seeking Preferences and Practices of Young Adults Online

Mitzchie Espedido, Ian Young Biblographic citation: Food Protection Trends, vol. 41, no. 2, pp. 204-215, Mar 2021 Volume 41, Issue 2: Pages 204–215

Young adults increasingly search online for health-related information, including information about food safety. This cross-sectional study was conducted to evaluate the food safety information-seeking preferences and practices of young adults who use Reddit, a popular community-based website. A questionnaire was developed, guided by the technology acceptance model and theory of planned behavior, and distributed online to young adults (age 18 to 39 years) from October 2019 to January 2020. Predictors of participants’ intentions to use Reddit to search for advice about safe food handling in the following 2 weeks were assessed in an ordinal regression model. Eligible responses were obtained from 209 individuals. One-third (36%) of respondents had previously searched for food safety information on Reddit, 88% of whom adopted the advice they found. Self-reported food handling practices were generally positive, but only 50% of respondents owned a food thermometer. Respondents were more likely to intend to search for food safety advice on Reddit if they perceived the website to be useful and credible, if they previously searched Reddit for food safety information, and if they perceived safe food handling to be unpleasant. Additional education and outreach strategies targeting this website are warranted to ensure accurate food safety advice is promoted online.

Subscribe Today

Subscribe to the Journal of Food Protection® and Food Protection Trends to stay up to date on the information you need, including scientific research and articles reporting on a variety of food safety and quality topics.

Request Permission to Reuse Content

This link will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center where you can submit a request to reuse IAFP’s content found in our publications. Please note that no part of any publications may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without prior permission from IAFP.