This research project will evaluate the beliefs, attitudes and knowledge of food handlers with regards to food safety practices.
<p>The objectives for this project will be to:<ul>
<li>determine food handlers’ beliefs, attitudes and knowledge about food safety practices
<li>assess food handlers’ actual implementation of food hygiene practices
<li>establish the efficacy of social cognition models for predicting and understanding food handlers’ food safety practices
<li>investigate the relationship between attitudes, knowledge and practices and evaluate the results in relation to food hygiene training received.</li></ul>
<p>The project will be divided into two phases where phase one will involve domestic food handlers and phase two will involve commercial food handlers.
In both cases the attitudes, knowledge, beliefs and practices of the food handlers will be evaluated within the framework of two social cognition models.
This project investigated the attitudes, knowledge, beliefs and practices of food handlers within the framework of two social cognition models.
<p>Data on risk factors for food poisoning suggest that most outbreaks involve human handling errors. Legislation in the UK now requires that 'all food handlers are supervised and instructed and/or trained in food hygiene matters commensurate with their work activities'.
Although it has been estimated that four million people have received food hygiene training there is uncertainty regarding its efficacy.
Research has produced contradictory results. Training may bring about an increased knowledge of food safety but this does not always result in a positive change in food handling behaviour.
<p>This disparity between knowledge and practice has led researchers to argue that health education and psychological theory should be utilised to gain a better understanding of the factors underlying food safety behaviour.
Psychologists have previously been successful in understanding and predicting a range of health-related behaviours, such as smoking, exercise and diet using social cognition models.
These models are grounded in the assumption that a person's behaviour is determined through examination of their beliefs and attitudes, and that these factors need to be examined within a social and environmental context. Researchers have argued that the effectiveness of food hygiene training could be greatly improved if it was designed using health education and psychological theory.
<p>Epidemiological research data provides a useful indication of the types of errors contributing to foodborne illness. However, this data does not always inform us of why or how these incidents occur.
<p>Find more about this project and other FSA food safety-related projects at the <a href="http://www.food.gov.uk/science/research/" target="_blank">Food Standards Agency Research webpage</a>.