Evidence-based health interventions for the educational sector: application and lessons learned from developing European food hygiene and safety teaching resources

Magda Hann*, Catherine V. Hayes, Virginie Lacroix-Hugues, Pia Touboul Lundgren, Cliodna McNulty, Rowshonara Syeda, Charlotte Eley, Paula Teixeira, Dimitra Gennimata, Mónica Truninger, Susanne Knøchel, Lars Münter, Rosalie Allison, Ágnes Fehér, Tekla Izsó, Atilla Kunszabó, Gyula Kasza, Alicia Demirjian

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Foodborne illnesses have a significant global burden and can be life-threatening, but good food hygiene practice can prevent most. SafeConsume is an EU-funded, transdisciplinary project aiming to improve consumers’ food safety behaviour and reduce the burden of foodborne illness. Young people are at risk of foodborne illness and research indicates a lack of knowledge or concern about food hygiene. Educational settings provide an opportunity to influence behaviour; but for resources to be effective and implementable, they should be evidence-based and thoughtfully designed. Aim: To develop educational resources to teach food hygiene and food safety to school children aged 11–18 years old, through a user-based approach, specific to the educational setting. Methods: Development used a two-step process referred to as: the insight phase; and prototyping and refinement phase. This included using the findings of a needs assessment with students and educators based on the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF) presented in earlier publications (Eley et al., 2021; Syeda et al., 2021). A user-centred approach to development was then taken, employing an iterative process of idea generation, consultation with a multidisciplinary steering group, and user testing. Results: The insight phase identified students' and educators’ deficiencies in knowledge and skills, and cultural and social influences on food safety behaviours. This phase, including Curriculum analysis informed student learning objectives and educator training topics. Following a round of development and consultation, a total of seven teaching resources were developed, with four educator training modules to improve knowledge and confidence of educators. Conclusions: Behavioural theory is a useful foundation for the development of school-based health interventions, which aim to positively influence students' knowledge, behaviour, and attitudes. To support educators’ uptake, materials should be aligned to the national curriculum and should consider practical factors like time and environmental factors. By working closely with stakeholders at all stages of development, barriers to use, implementation and efficacy can be identified and mitigated.
Original languageEnglish
Article number109219
Number of pages9
JournalFood Control
Volume143
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

Keywords

  • Behavioural science
  • Education
  • Educational resources
  • Food hygiene
  • Food safety
  • Intervention development
  • Schools

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