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.
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