Food hygiene knowledge in adolescents and young adults

Barbara A. Mullan*, Cara Wong, Jemma Todd, Esther Davis, Emily Jane Kothe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to utilise the comprehensive Food Safety Knowledge Instrument to compare food hygiene knowledge across a population of high school and university students in Australia and the UK. Design/methodology/approach – In total, 475 students from secondary schools and universities in Australia and the UK took part in a survey, which included a Food Safety Knowledge Instrument and demographic items. Findings – Food safety knowledge was generally very low. High school students had a mean score of only 38 per cent, while university students just reached a “pass” with a mean of 54 per cent. Demographics accounted for 41 per cent of variance in food knowledge scores. Female gender, being at university rather than high school, and living out of home rather than with parents were associated with greater food knowledge. Residing in Australia rather than the UK and being older were also associated with greater knowledge; however, these findings were subsumed by education group. Socio-economic status was not a significant predictor of food knowledge. Practical implications – Identifying demographic and cultural differences in food knowledge can help to identify at-risk populations to better target in theory and knowledge-based interventions. Originality/value – This study is the first to apply the knowledge instrument in an Australian population. Understanding the baseline knowledge in this population is an important first step at developing effective interventions for food safety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-61
Number of pages12
JournalBritish Food Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Food hygiene
  • Food knowledge
  • Food safety
  • Foodborne illness


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