Consumer education about the basic principles of food safety is an important component of preventing food borne illnesses. Impact is difficult to document because of a lack of valid and reliable evaluation instruments. The goal of this project is to develop and validate an instrument that is suitable for evaluation of food safety educational programs for low-income, low-literacy audiences.
This is a population cohort believed to be vulnerable to food safety illnesses because of the high proportion of children and elderly living in poverty. The American food supply is among the safest in the world, but consumers need to take responsibility for their role in maintaining the safety of the food rather than placing the burden only on the food producer or processor. The research objectives are: determine the relationship of intermediate variables (stages of change variables, knowledge, attitudes, awareness, self-efficacy, and intention to change) to the behavioral outcomes related to food safety; evaluate whether self-reported behavior changes are a valid way to assess the behavioral outcomes of food safety edujcation; design, validate and test an instrument that will assess food safety behavior and intermediate variables; pilot test the instrument; and revise as needed and retest. The Stages of Change Model will be used to develop and validate intermediate variables. An audit of food preparation behaviors will be used to validate self-reported behaviors. Face validity and field-testing will be used to test the instrument.