To read this content please select one of the options below:

Food hygiene knowledge in adolescents and young adults

Barbara Mullan (School of Psychology and Speech Pathology, Curtin University, Perth, Australia)
Cara Wong (School of Psychology, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia)
Jemma Todd (School of Psychology, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia)
Esther Davis (School of Psychology, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia)
Emily Jane Kothe (School of Psychology, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 5 January 2015




The purpose of this paper is to utilise the comprehensive Food Safety Knowledge Instrument to compare food hygiene knowledge across a population of high school and university students in Australia and the UK.


In total, 475 students from secondary schools and universities in Australia and the UK took part in a survey, which included a Food Safety Knowledge Instrument and demographic items.


Food safety knowledge was generally very low. High school students had a mean score of only 38 per cent, while university students just reached a “pass” with a mean of 54 per cent. Demographics accounted for 41 per cent of variance in food knowledge scores. Female gender, being at university rather than high school, and living out of home rather than with parents were associated with greater food knowledge. Residing in Australia rather than the UK and being older were also associated with greater knowledge; however, these findings were subsumed by education group. Socio-economic status was not a significant predictor of food knowledge.

Practical implications

Identifying demographic and cultural differences in food knowledge can help to identify at-risk populations to better target in theory and knowledge-based interventions.


This study is the first to apply the knowledge instrument in an Australian population. Understanding the baseline knowledge in this population is an important first step at developing effective interventions for food safety.



Mullan, B., Wong, C., Todd, J., Davis, E. and Kothe, E.J. (2015), "Food hygiene knowledge in adolescents and young adults", British Food Journal, Vol. 117 No. 1, pp. 50-61.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles