On the one hand food waste is generated in huge amounts throughout the food supply chain, which has environmental, economic and social consequences. On the other hand, consumers’ knowledge of safe food handling practices has an important role to play in preventing foodborne diseases which represent a growing public health issue all over the world. Though households are the largest contributor to these two issues, little is known about the effects that the consumers’ level of food safety knowledge can have on the production of food waste. The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of consumers’ knowledge of safe food handling practices on the amount of food thrown away. A survey of 57 London consumers examined the level of food safety handling knowledge and practices as well as food waste behaviour. The results showed that respondents’ shopping behaviour tended to result in the production of food waste, yet there were some motivations that could decrease the likelihood of food being thrown out. For instance, they were aware of how much food they had at home and checked their cupboards before buying more food. Furthermore, it was found that economic status and feelings of guilt also contributed to respondents behaviour regarding food safety and waste. The findings indicated that most of the respondents (78%) always read the expiry dates but that their level of understanding of what these mean was low. Similarly, participants on the whole knew how to handle and store their leftover food correctly and knew the correct temperature at which a fridge or freezer should be set. However, their reported behaviour did not always match the knowledge that they demonstrated. Therefore, their responses suggested that some poor food handling practices due to knowledge not being implemented could lead to food going off before it could be eaten, thus increasing the amount of wasted food. This suggests that in order to improve consumers’ food safety handling practices and knowledge to reduce the amount of food waste, efforts should be made to develop food safety education strategies aimed at schools and households as well as new technologies to improve the interpretation of these practices.
Agregar etiquetas para The effect of consumers’ food safety knowledge on the production of food waste = Efectos del conocimiento de los consumidores en seguridad de alimentos En La Producción de alimentos desperdiciados