Knight, P. G.; Jackson, Jose Candace; Bain, Brendan C.; Eldemire-Shearer, Denise A.
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Department of Community Health and Psychiatry
Household Food Safety Awareness of Selected Urban Consumers in Jamaica
International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition
Date of Publication
Home interviews of 110 randomly selected householders representing three distinct socio-economic groups in North Central St. Andrew, an urban community in Jamaica, were conducted during January-March 1999. Respondents were interviewed about their awareness of safe food handling, risk perception, food handling practices and attitude to food safety issues. The majority of respondents reported a fairly high knowledge of safe food handling practices; however, more than one-half were unfamiliar with the correct procedure for freezing and thawing of foods. Householders were very concerned about the food they purchased for preparation at home, displayed strong concerns about sanitation of food handling establishments, food handlers practices, and the appearance of foods purchased. The majority of respondents had never contacted their local Health Department or the Ministry of Health regarding food safety concerns. Diarrhoea, stomach pain, vomiting and nausea were reported as the major symptoms of food-borne illness, while animal foods including dairy, beef, chicken, pork and fish/shellfish were implicated as the main source of food borne illnesses. There were no significant differences (P<0.5) observed between gender and socio-economic groups in the study, except for concern of the appearance of food and shopping options, respectively. These findings raise concerns about consumer food safety knowledge and practices in Jamaica. It is suggested that a national knowledge, awareness and practices survey should be conducted, followed by a properly designed food safety public education campaign, to enhance household food safety awareness in Jamaica.....