This project utilizes focus group research and evaluation of consumer behavior to develop, pilot and revise a computer-based food safety educational tool for low-income high-risk audiences. The tool developed will be disseminated nationally as a model for computer-education for high-risk audiences.
Expanding upon work previously funded through a FY99 Food Safety Quality competitive grant, this multi-state, multi-institutional project will use research and extension to develop, refine, and disseminate computer-based food safety educational tools. The tools will allow low-income, high-risk consumers to assess food safety risks in their homes. <P> Home*A*Syst educators, Extension EFNEP and FNP educators, and home-health educators will deliver the self-assessment tool through 8 projects in 3 states. Target audiences include white, Hispanic, African-American, and Native American audiences. <P> Extension and tribal educators will pilot English-language computer-based food safety lessons with 240 high-risk low-income families. Impact on consumer knowledge and awareness of food safety will be evaluated. Focus groups will provide feedback on the appropriateness of the tool for specific minority low-income audiences: Native-Americans, African-Americans and Hispanics. A Spanish-language tool will be developed and piloted, along with revised English-language tools, to 240 additional high-risk, low-income families. A national satellite videoconference will highlight impact and use of the curriculum, and tools developed will be disseminated nationally. <P>There are five main goals to this proposed project: 1) To improve the ability of consumers to make informed decisions related to food safety issues in the home, 2) to integrate extension programs in food safety, environmental quality, and nutrition education with allied programs, 3) to reach a variety of high-risk audiences including white, Hispanic, African-American, and Native American clients, 4) to evaluate the effectiveness of the food safety educational tools developed in bringing about behavior change, and 5) to disseminate project results.