Consumer's Fresh Produce Food Safety Practices: Outcomes of a Fresh Produce Safety Education Program

Authors

  • Amanda R. Scott,

    1. Author Scott is with Dept. of Nutrition and Food Science, Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Texas A&M System, 223 Kleberg Center, Mail Stop 2253, College Station, TX 77843-2253, U.S.A. Author Pope is with Dept. of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications, Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Texas A&M System, 148 Scoates Hall, MS 2116, College Station, TX 77843-2116, U.S.A. Author Thompson is with Baylor College of Medicine, One Baylor Plaza, Mail Stop BCM301, Houston, TX 77030, U.S.A.; previously with Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Texas A&M University System, 352 Kleberg Center, Mail Stop 2253, College Station, TX 77843-2253, U.S.A. Direct inquiries to author Scott (E-mail: arscott@ag.tamu.edu).
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  • Paul E. Pope,

    1. Author Scott is with Dept. of Nutrition and Food Science, Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Texas A&M System, 223 Kleberg Center, Mail Stop 2253, College Station, TX 77843-2253, U.S.A. Author Pope is with Dept. of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications, Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Texas A&M System, 148 Scoates Hall, MS 2116, College Station, TX 77843-2116, U.S.A. Author Thompson is with Baylor College of Medicine, One Baylor Plaza, Mail Stop BCM301, Houston, TX 77030, U.S.A.; previously with Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Texas A&M University System, 352 Kleberg Center, Mail Stop 2253, College Station, TX 77843-2253, U.S.A. Direct inquiries to author Scott (E-mail: arscott@ag.tamu.edu).
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  • Britta M. Thompson

    1. Author Scott is with Dept. of Nutrition and Food Science, Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Texas A&M System, 223 Kleberg Center, Mail Stop 2253, College Station, TX 77843-2253, U.S.A. Author Pope is with Dept. of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications, Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Texas A&M System, 148 Scoates Hall, MS 2116, College Station, TX 77843-2116, U.S.A. Author Thompson is with Baylor College of Medicine, One Baylor Plaza, Mail Stop BCM301, Houston, TX 77030, U.S.A.; previously with Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Texas A&M University System, 352 Kleberg Center, Mail Stop 2253, College Station, TX 77843-2253, U.S.A. Direct inquiries to author Scott (E-mail: arscott@ag.tamu.edu).
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Abstract

ABSTRACT:  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that there are 76 million cases of foodborne disease annually. Foodborne disease is usually associated with beef, poultry, and seafood. However, there is an increasing number of foodborne disease cases related to fresh produce. Consumers may not associate fresh produce with foodborne disease or recognize that these foods require safe handling. To address this learning need, a 1-h educational program was developed and evaluated. Extension agents in 69 Texas counties presented the program to participants. Most participants (n = 2651) were female (89.5%), Caucasian (60.5%), and over age 55 (62%). Participants completed a traditional pretest and then a retrospective posttest at conclusion of the program to assess knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors related to fresh produce safety. Participants' behaviors and attitudes were assessed using a 5-point scale. To measure the longer-term impact of the program, a follow-up telephone survey was conducted among a random sample (n = 426) of participants. Repeated measures ANOVA, t-tests, and eta-squared were used to determine significant differences. Immediate posttest results indicated improved knowledge and attitudes regarding specific fruit and vegetable safety recommendations. Long-term improvement was also noted for food safety behaviors, but not for overall food safety attitudes. The results suggest that this educational program is an effective tool to teach consumers about safe handling of fresh produce.

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