FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH LEVEL OF FOOD SAFETY KNOWLEDGE AMONG FORM FOUR STUDENTS IN HULU LANGAT DISTRICT, SELANGOR
Background: Food safety protects consumers from risks of foodborne diseases and addresses the proper handling, preparing and storing of food. With foodborne diseases still remaining an important cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, food safety continues to be emphasized and enhancing consumer food safety knowledge and practice is one important measure to prevent foodborne diseases. Although there are efforts of food safety education in schools, there is still limited research regarding food safety knowledge and practice amongst consumers especially school students. Therefore, this research aims to determine the level and factors associated with food safety practice among form four students in Hulu Langat district, Selangor.
Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study using multi-stage sampling was conducted involving 610 form four students from six secondary schools in Hulu Langat. A self-administered questionnaire was used to determine the students’ food safety knowledge scores. A cut-off point of 70% was used (scores above or below this are considered ‘Good’ or ‘Insufficient’ level of knowledge). Descriptive and analytical analysis was done using the SPSS version 22.0
Result: The level of food safety knowledge is insufficient for majority of the students (62.8%). Good food safety knowledge was higher among the Malays (40.8%), those in the Pure Science stream (44%), those with parents who are food handlers (51.3%) and those with a previous experience of food poisoning (40.7%). The level of food safety knowledge is significantly associated with ethnicity (p=0.03), academic stream (p=0.02), whether their parents are food handlers (p=0.03) and previous experience of food poisoning (p=0.01).
Conclusion: Majority of the form four students had insufficient level of knowledge on food safety. Thus, there is a need to further improve their knowledge. Factors like racial differences, family and academic background should be taken into consideration when constructing educational interventions to improve the level of knowledge.Keywords: food safety knowledge, students, secondary schools