Online Program

Evaluation of the “tasty and safe” food safety intervention for older adults

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 3:10 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Katherine Kosa, MS, Food and Nutrition Policy Research, RTI International, RTP, NC
Sheryl Cates, BA, Food and Nutrition Policy Research, RTI International, RTP, NC
Melanie Ball, Food and Nutrition Policy Research, RTI International, RTP, NC
Sandria L. Godwin, PhD, RD, LD/N, School of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences, Tennessee State University, Nashville, TN
Introduction: Older adults are more likely than the general population to experience complications, hospitalization, and death because of foodborne infections. Research suggests older adults do not follow specific food safety practices; thus, innovative approaches to motivate old adults to safely handle and prepare food at home are needed. Methods: Developed and evaluated the “Tasty and Safe” intervention, an education program designed for older adults that featured a food safety booklet and a recipe binder and supplemented with three monthly mailings of recipes and food safety tips. Distributed the intervention to 306 adults aged 60 and older throughout the United States and conducted pre- and post-test surveys to assess their reaction to the intervention and self-reported changes in food safety practices. Results: Examining changes from pre- to post-intervention, we found that some respondents improved their food safety practices. For respondents who reported consuming the potentially risky food at pre-intervention, 29% reported not consuming soft cheeses since exposure to the intervention and 28% reporting not consuming cold deli meats without reheating. For respondents who reported following the unsafe practice at pre-intervention, 51% started following practices to prevent cross-contamination when using a cutting board; 44% started safely storing raw meat, poultry, and seafood in the refrigerator; 27% purchased a food thermometer; and 6% started cleaning the inside of the refrigerator weekly. Discussion: The intervention was well received by participants. The findings suggest that some older adults changed their food safety practices, but additional research is needed to attribute these changes to the intervention.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe food handling and food consumption behaviors of older adults. Discuss food safety messages that improved older adults food handling and food consumption behaviors. Identify remaining gaps in older adults’ food safety behaviors.

Keyword(s): Food Safety, Aging

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been conducting consumer research in food, nutrition, and obesity for over 12 years. I have published and presented the findings from several consumer studies in peer-reviewed journals and at national conferences.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.