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Food Safety and Ontario’s Youth: Can Food Safety Training Effectively Improve Knowledge and Practice in Ontario High School Students?

Investigators
Majawicz, Shannon
Institutions
University of Waterloo
Objective

This research will scientifically evaluate the effectiveness of the newly-standardized MOHLTC-FHT in improving food safety KAP in a sample of Ontario high school students. The specific objectives are to:

  1. Establish baseline knowledge, attitudes, and practices (both self-reported and observed) in Ontario high school youth;
  2. Create in-class curriculum material from the MOHLTC-FHT, focused on priority food safety areas for the target population; and
  3. Evaluate the effectiveness of the MOHLTC-FHT in changing the KAP in this population.

We will also identify barriers and opportunities to offering food safety training in high schools, from school, teacher, and student perspectives, which will help guide incorporation of food safety education in general, and the MOHLTC-FHT in particular, into the Ontario high school curriculum and other fora. Ultimately, the goal of this work is to support application of validated food safety education across the population, thereby improving behaviours and reducing illness.

More information

Improving food safety behaviours in Ontario's youth is key to ensuring consumer food safety in the province. We will evaluate the effectiveness of the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s (MOHLTC's) newly-standardized Provincial Food Handler Training Plan (MOHLTC-FHT) in improving food safety knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) in a sample of Ontario high school students, and will develop materials for effectively incorporating food safety education into the Ontario high school curriculum. To facilitate timely, cost-effective implementation, this research will be conducted within the $1.5 million CIHR-funded COMPASS longitudinal study, currently operating in schools across Ontario using in-class, whole-school data collection. We will use a semi-randomized evaluation design to assess the effectiveness of the MOHLTC-FHT in four schools (n~2,400), measuring baseline and post-intervention (one week and circa six months post-intervention) KAP via self-reported surveys (n~2,400) and direct observation (n~176), in both intervention and control classes.

Funding Source
Ontario Min. of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs
Project number
FS2013-1843
Categories
Natural Toxins
Bacterial Pathogens
Education and Training