Exploring Novel Technologies to Enhance Food Safety Training and Research Opportunities
In food safety research focused on consumers in the domestic setting or on food handlers in the industry, technologic advancements have improved the rigor of research findings, reduced research biases, simplified data collection methods, and enhanced the delivery of food safety education and training. Use of online surveys can save time over use of paper-based surveys because data entry is eliminated and data analysis can be simplified (44). The cost, availability, and portability of surveillance equipment has enabled covert observational research on consumer food safety practices in domestic environments (34, 81) and on food handlers in industry settings (20, 36, 37).
New technologies also afford many new opportunities to interact with target audiences. These evolving technologies are changing the way in which computer screens are used and could allow the food industry and researchers to create new and stimulating experiences that benefit study areas such as food safety behaviors, cognition, and training.
Advancements in technology have allowed food safety researchers and user-centered design researchers to join forces to explore novel techniques that can be utilized to enhance food safety training and research opportunities. The aim of this article is to explore alternative approaches such as biometric and virtual or augmented reality technologies that can be utilized by food safety researchers to enhance understanding of food safety practices, increase industry insight into food safety behaviors, and present opportunities to optimize food safety education prospects. This article provides an overview of several physiological and psychological technologies that can be used in simulated environments, with applied user testing, in product development, and in behavioral analysis research.
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