Authors: Tsorng-Yeh Lee and Beryl F. Pilkington
Background: Canada has a relatively safe food supply comparing to other countries in the world; however, outbreaks of food-borne illness do occur. Appropriate education on food safety is an essential component in preventing food-borne illness. Studies have shown that the general population lacks knowledge about the prevention of food-borne illness. Food safety education can benefit everyone, especially those who are at high risk, such as the senior population. Objectives: To initiate an educational program in order to effectively serve the Chinese senior immigrant population in York Region, Canada, and explore Chinese seniors’ food safety knowledge. The program is designed to raise awareness about protecting seniors’ health by preventing the spread of food-borne illness, so senior residents in York Region can live a healthy lifestyle. Method: A pretest-posttest design was used to examine the efficacy of the educational program for improving seniors’ knowledge on food safety. Ninety-five seniors participated in four 2-hour workshops. They filled out the knowledge questionnaire before and after the workshops. Statistical analysis with Paired sample t tests was performed using Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 22.0 to compare pre- and post-test scores. Result: Paired sample t tests revealed that there were significant differences between knowledge scores on pre- and post-test, which indicated that participants’ knowledge significantly improved following the food safety educational program. Conclusion: This study has demonstrated that an educational program on food safety resulted in improved food safety knowledge for Chinese senior immigrants. Because seniors are at increased risk for food-borne illness, educational programs, such as the one developed for this study, are recommended.
Keywords: food safety, education, senior, Chinese, Immigrants