FNS> Vol.5 No.15, August 2014

Practice, Behavior, Knowledge and Awareness of Food Safety among Secondary & Tertiary Level Students in Trinidad, West Indies

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ABSTRACT

The aim of this study was to assess the level of food safety practice, knowledge, behavior and awareness among n = 205 Trinidadian students (mean age 18±) enrolled within the education system in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies and to explore the association between these variables and the demographic and educational characteristics. To address these concerns, participants enrolled within the secondary (high school) and tertiary (university) institutions in Trinidad were questioned (16 questions) on food buying habits, preparation, attitudes, behaviors, knowledge and awareness. The data were analyzed using SPSS for descriptive, frequency distribution and percentages. Pearson chi square tested the association between food safety behaviors and awareness in relation to gender, age and educational level. Findings indicated that 76%of the students “always” washed their hands after touching raw chicken/meats and fish, while 50% utilized separate cutting boards/knives for raw chicken/meat and fish. Many students (68%) believed that it was “very safe” to only rinse cutting boards used for raw chicken/meat and fish. Others (10%) believed it was “very safe” to defrost foods outside the refrigerator, and 25% reported that it was “safe” to leave hot foods at room temperature for more than four hours. The level of food safety practice and behavior was higher (p < 0.05) among the female students at the secondary school level than those at the tertiary level. There was no difference in the median (20/45) and mode (25/45) scores for food safety behavior between the two educational groups but the difference (p < 0.01) was significant for awareness. Food safety practice, behavior and awareness skills of males at the secondary level were significantly lower (p < 0.01) than the females. These results strengthen the need for continuous educational programs to improve food safety awareness skills of Trinidadian students.

Cite this paper

Turnbull-Fortune, S. and Badrie, N. (2014) Practice, Behavior, Knowledge and Awareness of Food Safety among Secondary & Tertiary Level Students in Trinidad, West Indies. Food and Nutrition Sciences, 5, 1463-1481. doi: 10.4236/fns.2014.515160.

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