Don’t Wash Your Chicken!: A Food Safety Education Campaign to Address a Common Food Mishandling Practice

Shauna C. Henley, Jeanne Gleason, Jennifer J. Quinlan Biblographic citation: Food Protection Trends, vol. 36, no. 1, pp. 43-53, Jan 2016 Volume 36, Issue 1: Pages 43–53

A growing body of research indicates that consumers often wash raw poultry. We describe the development and piloting of food safety education materials to raise awareness and influence consumers to stop washing raw poultry, including four fotonovela/recipe brochures; eight YouTube videos; an animated visualization of cross-contamination/ aerosolization; pens; and a Web site. The study used a posttest-only design consisting of four control and four intervention sites where surveys were completed following the 4-week intervention. The intervention group improved (P < 0.05) participants’ behavior toward not washing raw chicken, their knowledge that washing chicken would not lessen their chances of becoming ill, and their self-efficacy regarding ceasing to wash whole raw chicken. Despite this change, many in both groups remained unaware of the proper way to handle raw poultry and still reported washing it. Although this pilot intervention demonstrates the effectiveness of educational materials to address this practice, it also reconfirms results of emerging research that many consumers are not aware of the proper way to handle raw poultry and suggests a need to disseminate the message more broadly and consistently. Substantial interest in the educational materials, post-intervention, by local and national media suggests continued interest in food safety recommendations on this topic among journalists and the general public.

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