Structural equation modelling of food safety knowledge, attitude and practices among consumers in Malaysia

Soon, Jan Mei orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-0488-1434, Wahab, Ikarastika Rahayu Abdul, Hamdan, Ruhil Hayati and Jamaludin, Mohd Hafiz (2020) Structural equation modelling of food safety knowledge, attitude and practices among consumers in Malaysia. PLOS ONE, 15 (7). e0235870.

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Factors contributing to foodborne illnesses in Malaysia were identified as insanitary food handling procedures and lack of hygiene in food preparation area. Food safety at home is a critical point as consumers represent the final step in food preparation and prevention of foodborne diseases. This study aims to investigate the food safety knowledge, attitude and self-reported practices among consumers in Malaysia. An online survey was conducted, and data were analysed using descriptive statistics and exploratory factor analysis. A model linking food safety knowledge and attitude and their direct effects on practices were confirmed using structural equation modelling (SEM). The proposed model fulfilled the goodness of fit indices and is deemed acceptable. Respondents demonstrate good level of food safety knowledge and positive attitudes and self-reported practices. Food safety knowledge has a negative and insignificant relationship with food safety practices (β1 = -0.284, p>0.05) while attitude significantly affects food safety practices (β1 = 0.534, p<0.05). The findings clearly indicate that food safety knowledge does not directly affect food safety practices This is also the first study to provide new empirical findings on thermometer usage among consumers in Malaysia. This study establishes an important point of reference where consumers use visual appearances to determine if food is thoroughly cooked and practice washing raw chicken prior to cooking. Food safety practices at home play a critical role in protecting consumers in reducing risks of foodborne illnesses.

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