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J Environ Health. 2007 Sep;70(2):13-21, 44.

Food safety perceptions and behaviors of participants in congregate-meal and home-delivered-meal programs.

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  • 1University of Kentucky, Department of Nutrition and Food Science, Lexington 40506, USA.


The study reported here examined the food safety perceptions, food safety behaviors, and emergency food preparedness of elderly people participating in congregate-meal and home-delivered-meal (HDM) programs as influenced by demographic and socioeconomic variables. Interviewers surveyed elderly people participating in a congregate-meal and HDM program in nine counties in central Kentucky in April 2004 and May 2005. Participants' perceptions of food safety issues showed statistically significant differences by meal site location, age, marital status, and household composition. Participants' self-reported food safety behaviors showed statistically significant differences by marital status, meal site location, age, gender, household composition, race/ethnicity, and level of education. In addition, significant differences were found in seniors' self-reported emergency food preparedness by race and level of education. The study found that some elderly people participating in the Elderly Nutrition Program (ENP) have disconcerting food safety perceptions, engage in risky food-handling behaviors, and lack emergency food and water preparation. Since many elderly people participating in the ENP program are vulnerable, these findings indicate that support and assistance by providers is warranted to protect elderly people from unsafe situations.

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