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Food and You – Secondary Data Analysis
Project Code: FS409012
This project involved secondary data analysis of the FSA’s Waves 1 and 2 Food and You data in order to increase understanding of domestic food safety practices. The project comprised two main stages: secondary analysis of the Food and You data, and peer-review of the FSA’s redeveloped index of recommended practice (IRP).
Social and economic predictors of domestic food safety practices
People most likely to report food safety practices in line with FSA recommendations are:
• people aged under 65 years
• people living in Northern Ireland
• people of white ethnicity
• those who are married or cohabiting
People in households with young children (under the age of five) are more likely to report behaviours in line with recommended food safety practice than those with older or no children.
The results suggest that the extent to which reported behaviours are in line with recommended practice is related to social-demographic variables (such as age, gender and ethnicity), but not socio-economic variables (such as income, education, and housing tenure).
Current and future sources of information on domestic food safety practices
Half of those who currently access information on preparing and cooking food safely, receive this information from retailers and food producers, with slightly fewer citing TV and radio, friends and family, or books and newspapers. Men and those in the oldest age group (65 years or older) are most likely to say they do not currently look for food safety information. It is likely that the internet will be an increasing source of information on food safety, particularly for those aged 16-34 years.
Knowledge and attitudes towards food safety practices
There is little evidence of an association between attitudes and reported behaviour. A link is proposed between knowledge and behaviour, which could be implicated by social desirability bias, where people might report behaviour in line with their knowledge of recommended practice, rather than their actual behaviour.
Food hygiene rating schemes
A good food hygiene rating is considered important by about a quarter of people across gender, age and county of residence. However, active use of a food hygiene rating scheme is much lower, apart from in Northern Ireland. Use of food hygiene rating schemes declines with age – only 4% of those aged 65 years and over use schemes compared with 14% of 16-34 year olds, and 10% of 35-64 year olds. This age related pattern was the same for those who did and did not report eating out in the past seven days.
Domestic food safety practices and eating outside the home
People who used a food hygiene rating scheme to check a catering outlet’s hygiene standards were more likely to report behaviours which were in line with recommended food safety practice at home.
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