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An investigation of the factors underlying consumers’ implementation of specific food safety practices

Clayton, Deborah A., Griffith, Christopher J., Price, Patricia
British food journal 2003 v.105 no.6-7 pp. 434-453
attitudes and opinions, cleaning, cognition, food handling, food safety, hand washing, hygiene, models, questionnaires, risk perception
Utilises social cognition models to determine the beliefs, attitudes and knowledge of consumers towards food safety. The main aim was to determine the underlying factors influencing consumers' implementation of specific food safety practices in the home. The research was conducted in two stages. First, salient beliefs of 100 consumers towards food safety were obtained using open-ended questions. Second, the food handling practices of 40 consumers were observed and their food safety attitudes and knowledge determined using structured questionnaires. Disparities were shown between participants’ knowledge of specific hygiene practices and their implementation of these practices. Participants demonstrated a lack of and/or inadequate implementation of a number of hygiene practices, including a lack of handwashing, poor hand-washing technique and inadequate cleaning of surfaces. The results suggest measures of perceived behavioural control, perceived barriers and perceived risk may provide developers of food safety intervention materials with more useful information compared with measures of knowledge or intention.