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Foodborne illness has substantial health and
economic impacts on society. Most cases of foodborne illness are associated
with exposure to contaminated food at home compared to other settings (e.g.
restaurants). Previous studies have found that most consumers do not follow
several recommended safe food handling practices at home, likely contributing
to this illness burden. This presentation will discuss the results of a
systematic review of qualitative research studies to determine the underlying
facilitators and barriers affecting consumers’ adoption and maintenance of safe
food handling behaviours at home. A structured and transparent approach was
used to identify relevant literature, assess the quality of articles, extract
relevant results, and synthesize key themes. We identified 21 barriers and 10
facilitators to safe food handling from 37 studies; these were grouped across
six thematic areas: confidence and perceived risk; knowledge-behaviour gap;
habits and heuristics; practical and lifestyle constraints; food preferences;
and societal and social influences. Our overall confidence that each barrier
and facilitator represents the phenomenon of interest was rated as high (n=11),
moderate (11), and low (9). Overarching findings included: 1) safe food handling
behaviours occur as part of a complex interaction of everyday consumer
practices and habituation; 2) most consumers are not concerned about food
safety and are generally not motivated to change their behaviours based on new
knowledge about food safety risks; and 3) social pressure has a consistent
impact on consumers’ willingness change their safe food handling habits. Key
implications and recommendations for public health inspectors and future
research, policy and practice will be discussed.
This presentation will review the results of a
systematic review of qualitative research studies that investigated the reasons
affecting consumers' use of safe food handling behaviours in their homes.
The presentation will discuss:
- The importance of ensuring food safety at the consumer level;
- The major barriers to safe food handling among consumers;
- The major facilitators and motivators for safe food
handling among consumers;
- Promising strategies and techniques for food
safety and public health professionals to increase consumer adoption and
maintenance of safe food handling behaviours.
Presenter: Ian Young
Dr. Ian Young is an Assistant Professor in the School of
Occupational and Public Health, Ryerson University. He obtained a BASc in
Public Health and Safety from Ryerson University in 2007 and a PhD in
Epidemiology from the University of Guelph in 2010. From 2011–2013, he
completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship with the University of Guelph and the
Laboratory for Foodborne Zoonoses (now part of the National Microbiology
Laboratory), Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), and later worked as an
epidemiologist with PHAC. In 2015, Dr. Young worked as a Food Safety Expert
with the Food Safety and Quality Unit of the Food and Agriculture Organization
of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome, Italy. His current research focuses on
addressing applied and policy-relevant public health issues at the human,
animal, agri-food and environment interface, with a particular interest in food
safety along the food chain and the use of knowledge synthesis methodologies in
support of decision-making.
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