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J Food Prot. 2007 Aug;70(8):1927-32.

Comparison between self-reported and observed food handling behaviors among Latinas.

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  • 1Department of Nutritional Sciences and Connecticut NIH EXPORT Center of Excellence for Eliminating Health Disparities among Latinos, University of Connecticut, 3624 Horsebarn Hill Road, U-17, Storrs, Connecticut 06269, USA.


The study was conducted to compare and identify the magnitude of differences between self-reported and observed food safety behaviors among women preparing a chicken and salad dish at home. The observed food safety practices also were compared according to sociodemographic variables and prior food safety education. Sixty Puerto Rican women who were the main meal preparers for their households were recruited in Hartford, Conn. Three household visits were made to (i) deliver food ingredients to prepare the chicken and salad meal, (ii) conduct household observation, and (iii) conduct a self-reported survey. The difference between self-reported and observed behaviors varied across food handling and sanitation behaviors. There was a high level of inaccuracy for socially desirable behaviors such as hand washing; the vast majority of participants reported practicing these behaviors but they were not observed doing so. Cutting board washing also was considerably overreported, questioning the validity of these self-reported data for regression analyses. There was a significant association (P < 0.05) between proper thawing method and prior food safety education, use of cutting board and higher income, and washing tomatoes and having a positive attitude towards food safety. Results revealed that overreporting errors must be considered when analyzing and/or interpreting data derived from self-reported food safety consumer surveys and that food safety education and positive food safety attitudes are associated with recommended food safety behaviors.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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