Teaching young consumers in Europe: a multicentre qualitative needs assessment with educators on food hygiene and food safety

C. Eley*, P. T. Lundgren, G. Kasza, M. Truninger, C. Brown, V. L. Hugues, T. Izso, P. Teixeira, R. Syeda, N. Ferré, A. Kunszabo, C. Nunes, C. Hayes, K. Merakou, C. A. M. McNulty

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: Foodborne illnesses have a significant global burden and can be life-threatening, with higher risk in vulnerable groups such as children. SafeConsume is an EU-funded, transdisciplinary project aiming to improve consumers’ food safety behaviour. Developing educational resources on food safety for use in schools has potential to improve teaching of our young consumers. The aim of this study was to explore school educators’ attitudes, behaviours and knowledge towards food hygiene, safety and education. Methods: Focus groups and interviews in England, France, Portugal and Hungary explored educator knowledge, skills, intentions and beliefs around educating young people (11–18 years) about food safety. Data were analysed using NVivo and emerging themes were applied to the Theoretical Domains Framework. Results: A total of 48 educators participated. Knowledge, confidence and skills to teach food safety to young people varied depending on background and training. Educators reported they had a role to teach food safety to young people, were positive about delivering education and optimistic they could improve students’ food safety behaviour. Barriers to teaching included lack of national curriculum coverage, limited time and money, and lack of facilities. Educators reported that social influences (family, celebrity chefs, public health campaigns and social media) were important opportunities to improve young peoples’ awareness of food safety and consequences of foodborne illness. Conclusion: Educator food safety expertise varied; training could help to optimise educator knowledge, confidence and skills. Ministries of Health and Education need encouragement to get food safety incorporated further into school curricula across Europe, so schools will be motivated to prioritise these topics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-183
Number of pages9
JournalPerspectives in Public Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


  • Education
  • Educator
  • Food hygiene
  • Food safety
  • Needs assessment
  • Qualitative research
  • Schools
  • Teacher


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