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Article

Ingela Marklinder, Maria Magnusson and Margaretha Nydahl

The purpose of this paper is to identify knowledge gaps in terms of food handling and hygiene among a population in a selected city district.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify knowledge gaps in terms of food handling and hygiene among a population in a selected city district.

Design/methodology/approach

This study is a part of the project Community Health Management to Enhance Behaviour (CHANCE), (Lifelong Learning Programme of European Union 2007‐2009). A certain vulnerable group, i.e. older people, were addressed. The study population was recruited by convenience sample. A questionnaire was used to collect data among citizens in a selected city district (n=251). The elderly (71‐80+; n=123) were interviewed face to face, while the younger (21‐70 years; n=128) filled in their data on their own.

Findings

One third of the respondents usually measure the temperature in their refrigerator. However, one third revealed knowledge gaps relating to storage temperature for certain food items. Thirty nine per cent changes dishcloths once a week. Twenty per cent of the elderly usually put raw minced meat into their mouth to taste the seasoning without reflecting on pathogenic bacteria. There was no significant relation between the fear of food poisoning and tasting minced meat, changing the dishcloth often, or cooling down food properly. These results can be interpreted as a sign of knowledge gaps, indicating a need for improved health communication.

Research limitations/implications

The study population consisted of consumers in a selected city district in Uppsala municipality. Therefore the results should not be generalized for Swedes in general.

Practical implications

The collected data and the information of knowledge gaps have been used to perform a local health intervention. The results would reveal relevance for a larger nationwide survey that aims to identify knowledge gaps in terms of food handling and hygiene among Swedish citizens.

Social implications

Data from the present study would be useful in the attempt to implement simple tools at the local level, in order to promote healthy habits among consumers.

Originality/value

An innovative principle in the EU project CHANCE is to work from the inside out. Studies of consumers' food handling in private homes are lacking in Sweden. The present study is rather unique as it explores private households in terms of food handling and hygiene.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 115 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

Keywords

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Article

Margaretha Nydahl, Fanny Jacobsson, Marielle Lindblom and Ingela Marklinder

The aim of this paper was to analyze the effect according to knowledge and behavior, respectively, through a simplified health information model launched in a selected…

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper was to analyze the effect according to knowledge and behavior, respectively, through a simplified health information model launched in a selected city district.

Design/methodology/approach

The intervention in this study encompasses information meetings where two educational computer programs highlighting the “five a day” concept, and food hygiene were showcased in conjunction with a group discussion. In total, 92 people living or working in a selected city district participated. The effect of the intervention was determined by means of inquiries (multiple‐choice) that were carried out prior to, immediately following, and three weeks after the intervention.

Findings

A statistically significant improvement in knowledge of the concepts “five a day”, cross‐contamination, and recommended storage temperature (for smoked salmon and raw mince meat) was observed, however, no major change in behavior was reported.

Practical implications

The knowledge improvement suggests that the education programs, in conjunction with discussions, are a useful information model for raising awareness about the notion of “five a day” and food safety. The results of the study make it clear that there are difficulties in getting people to change their behavior, let alone getting them to participate in health education offered locally.

Originality/value

Intervention projects are a communication tool that may be used in order to increase knowledge and produce behavioral change. The project is working from the inside out, i.e. it examines the needs first and then develops solutions for them.

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