Title

The Importance of Food Safety Among Youth

Location

Harborside Center East and West

Strand #1

Mental & Physical Health

Relevance

In the United States about 5,000 people die every year of food-borne illness. Young adults need to be educated about the importance of safe food handling. In today’s obesity-promoting environment, it is much healthier to eat at home rather than eating fast food. In order to keep food safe, food safety education is pertinent for all age groups.

Brief Program Description

Educating youth about food-safety practices will increase awareness about correct food temperatures and food-borne pathogens, which will promote positive food-safety behaviors. Changing their food handling behaviors will help prevent food-borne illnesses and empower them to lead healthier lives.

Summary

Food safety needs to be addressed in school curriculum nationwide if we want students to lead healthier lives. Educating students on how to prevent food-borne illness is vital because there is a lack of knowledge regarding food safety. In a survey conducted on undergraduate students, only one of the students was able to correctly answer all of the questions, further proving the need for food safety education among youth. Survey findings revealed that 33% of students knew which foods were linked to outbreaks of E. coli, and 54% of students knew Salmonella and Campylobacter as being the main causes of food poisoning from meat/poultry. Only 58% of students knew that wooden or plastic cutting boards could be used for meat/poultry, so as long as the cutting board is kept clean. Only 42% of students knew that ground beef needs to be cooked to 160°F in order to prevent sickness from E. coli. Only 13% of students knew it was safe to refreeze meat/poultry if it had thawed in the refrigerator, and 54% of students knew the best way to refrigerate a leftover chicken cacciatore was by using several small containers. Only 29% of students knew that pre-cooking chicken in the microwave reduced the amount of heterocyclic amines resulting from broiling/grilling. Only 21% of students knew that half of all fruits and vegetables contain pesticide residues, and 46% of students knew that there was not sufficient evidence supporting whether produce washes were more effective than detergent and water in removing those pesticides. Only 38% of students knew that cantaloupe is most likely to harbor organisms that cause food-borne illnesses, and only 50% of students knew that a carton of milk should not be sold after the date stamped on the carton. Based on these results, it is evident that youth should be educated on the principles of safe food handling. Attendees will be provided with take-home resources that will enable them to practice food-safety techniques.

Evidence

Many governmental websites provide information about food-borne illnesses and how to prevent them through proper food-safety techniques. Research shows that when people choose to cook their own meals instead of choosing fast food or highly processed food products, they consume less sugar, salt, and saturated fat. However, if a person has no previous knowledge about proper food safety practices, then he or she can become very ill from improperly cooked foods, improperly chilled foods, not washing fruits and vegetables before consumption, and lack of hand-washing.

Format

Poster Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Shannon Cearley is a senior Nutrition and Food Science Major at Georgia Southern University. She has one published paper in the European Journal of Scientific Research and presented her paper at the 2014 Phi Kappa Phi research symposium, presented a paper on Sex and Religion at the 2013 Georgia Southern Religious Studies conference, and had 3 poster presentations at the 2014 National Youth at Risk conference.

Supriya Immaneni is a junior at Northwestern University in the seven-year BS/MD Honors Program of Medical Education. She is majoring in Psychology with an anticipated graduation year of 2015, and has received acceptance to Feinberg School of Medicine. She has had 1 poster presentation at the 2014 National Youth at Risk conference.

Padmini Shankar is a professor of nutrition and food science at Georgia Southern University. She is a registered dietitian.

Keyword Descriptors

Food safety, youth educations, pathogens, cooking temperatures

Presentation Year

2015

Start Date

3-3-2015 4:00 PM

End Date

3-3-2015 5:30 PM

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Mar 3rd, 4:00 PM Mar 3rd, 5:30 PM

The Importance of Food Safety Among Youth

Harborside Center East and West

Educating youth about food-safety practices will increase awareness about correct food temperatures and food-borne pathogens, which will promote positive food-safety behaviors. Changing their food handling behaviors will help prevent food-borne illnesses and empower them to lead healthier lives.