North Central Region Produce Grower Training: Pretest and Posttest Knowledge Change and Produce Safety Behavior Assessment

Bridget J. Perry, Angela M. Shaw, Arlene E. Enderton, Shannon S. Coleman, Ellen E. Johnsen Biblographic citation: Food Protection Trends, vol. 41, no. 3, pp. 266-273, May 2021 Volume 41, Issue 3: Pages 266–273

The objective of this study was to determine whether there was knowledge gain and behavioral change by pro-duce growers within the North Central Region (NCR) of the United States who participated in the Produce Safe-ty Alliance (PSA) Grower Training. Over a 2-year period, the 25-question knowledge assessment was adminis-tered to participants (n = 2,286) at the beginning and at the end of each 8-h training to measure knowledge gain. Behavioral change was assessed using a survey 12 months after the training. Average scores measuring the participants’ knowledge increased significantly from pretest (16.1 of 25, 68%) to posttest (20.0 of 25, 80%) (P = 0.001). On average, participants in trainings not targeting special populations (n = 1,735) improved their scores more than participants in trainings for special populations (n = 509) (P = 0.001). Of growers, 199 (72%) of 276 who responded to the follow-up sur-vey indicated that they had made a behavioral change, such as writing or modifying farm food safety plans (n = 108), implementing different training for employees on food safety (n = 108), and modifying food record-keeping systems (n = 98). The results indicate that behavioral change did not correlate with knowledge gain. Educational materials should be developed to encourage both knowledge and behavioral change.

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