Food-handling Practices and Knowledge among Families with Young Children

Lum, A., Albrecht, J. A., Yaseen, M. Yaseen, Litchfield, R., and Ritter-Gooder.
(2013) Food Protection Trends, 33 (6) 358-375

Children are at higher risk for foodborne illness than adults. Primary food handlers for young children have a direct impact on their child’s food safety risk. The objective of this study was to determine food safety handling practices and knowledge of main food preparers in families with children < 10 years of age. Participants (n = 503) were female (67%), Caucasian (80%), 30-49 years of age (83%), college educated (79%) and had one to two children 10 years and younger (83%). Responses were compared to Healthy People 2020 objectives/goals for food safety. The number of safe food-handling practices always practiced that met the goals were categorized by concept: Clean; 2, Separate; 1, Cook; 3, Chill; 4. Average food safety knowledge scores exceeded the Healthy People 2020 goals for Clean, 85%, 5.1 1.1 (6-point scale) and Cook, 80%, 8.0 2.9 (10-point scale) but not for Separate, 69%, 8.3 1.9 (12-point scale) or Chill, 78%, 10.9 1.9 (14-point scale). The lower knowledge scores for the Separate and Chill concepts indicate that food safety educators should focus on these concepts when designing messages for this population.