Examining the long-term effects of a safe food-handling media campaign
In Australia, food poisoning affects over 4.1 million people annually, with most cases occurring in domestic (i.e., household) environments. Strategies aimed at improving safe food-handling among the community have begun being implemented across Australia. Recently, the ‘Play it Food Safe’ mass media campaign by the Western Australian Department of Health was piloted and shown to have some effectiveness in improving safe food-handling behaviour among consumers following the campaign. However, little is known about whether these changes in safe food-handling behaviours can be maintained in the long-term. Therefore, the aim of this paper was to determine if the Western Australian ‘Play it Food Safe’ campaign could lead to long-term change of safe food-handling knowledge, behaviour, and related psychological constructs (i.e., habit, perceived risk, self-efficacy, and subjective norms) among consumers. Participants (N = 689) completed measures assessing their safe food-handling knowledge, behaviour, and psychological constructs, derived from psychological theories, following the conclusion of the ‘Play it Food Safe’ campaign that was re-run in Perth, Western Australia. Participants completed these measures again approximately eight-weeks later. Data were analysed to determine if there were any changes in these measures over time, or whether scores on these measures were maintained long-term. Results indicated that some psychological constructs improved over time, and knowledge was higher among participants who saw the campaign, however, behaviour remained the same. These findings show that the ‘Play it Food Safe’ campaign may be effective for increasing knowledge, and effective for improving some psychological constructs long-term, though further development of the campaign is needed for further impact on behaviour.
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Department of Health, Government of Western Australia