Hygienic food handling behaviours. An application of the Theory of Planned Behaviour

Barbara A. Mullan*, Cara L. Wong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

65 Citations (Scopus)


It is estimated that 5.4 million Australians get sick annually from eating contaminated food and that up to 20% of this illness results from food handling behaviour. A study was undertaken to investigate the efficacy of the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) including past behaviour in predicting safe food handling intention and behaviour. One hundred and nine participants completed questionnaires regarding their attitudes, perceived behavioural control (PBC), subjective norm, intentions and past behaviour. Behaviour was measured 4 weeks later. The TPB predicted a high proportion of variance in both intentions and behaviour, and past behaviour/habit was found to be the strongest predictor of behaviour. The results of the present study suggest interventions aimed at increasing safe food handling intentions should focus on the impact of normative influences and perceptions of control over their food handling environment; whereas interventions to change actual behaviour should attempt to increase hygienic food handling as a habitual behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)757-761
Number of pages5
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Food handling behaviours
  • Food hygiene
  • Food safety
  • Past behaviour
  • Social cognition models
  • The Theory of Planned Behaviour

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Hygienic food handling behaviours. An application of the Theory of Planned Behaviour'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this