Purpose – The purpose of this research is to show the evaluation of food hygiene knowledge and self‐reported behaviours of school children, assessment of children's attitudes towards food hygiene and evaluation of barriers to the adoption of appropriate food hygiene behaviours. Design/methodology/approach – The food hygiene knowledge and self‐reported behaviours of pupils (4 and 14 years; Key Stages 1‐3 in the English system – or Scottish equivalent) were determined using age‐appropriate knowledge quizzes completed by 2,259 pupils across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. Attitudes towards food hygiene and barriers to performing desirable hygiene‐related behaviours were established through semi‐structured interviews with 82 pupils who completed knowledge tasks in South East England. Findings – Children generally had good knowledge of food hygiene. However, there were misconceptions about the nature of micro‐organisms and how they affect food. In addition, a lack of reminders and practical food activities, especially at Key Stage 2 (7‐11 years), coupled with poor hand‐washing facilities, meant that children did not always adopt desirable behaviours. Children gave suggestions for ways to help others to remember good practice. Originality/value – The study identified areas of weakness in pupils' hygiene knowledge and understanding and has determined barriers to adoption of desirable behaviours at all times. It has also suggested ways in which food hygiene education could be made more engaging for pupils, and other methods to encourage good practice.
British Food Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 1, 2006
Keywords: Education; Food safety; Children (age groups); Behaviour
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