Discipline-Based Education Research Group


Date of this Version


Document Type



DBER Group Discussion on 2013‐10‐31


Copyright (c) 2013 Julie A. Albrecht, PhD.


Results from three research studies (USDA funded grants) indicated a need for food safety education for Hispanic and Native American families with young children. Focus groups and surveys results indicated that these two diverse audiences had less food safety knowledge and that some food handling practices could impact the safety of their family; in particular their children. Certain populations are at greater risk of contracting food‐related illnesses and these groups include children and prenatal women. Several factors that contribute to foodborne illness susceptibility in children include underdeveloped immune systems, lower body weight, the sensitive nature of fetal development, and the fact that children have little control over what they are eating and how it is prepared. Therefore, the main food preparer in families with young children are responsible for safe food handling and preparation to prevent foodborne illness.

Both cultures, Hispanic and Native Americans have oral culture traditions. In focus groups conducted with members of both cultures, participants expressed a learning style like a focus group; a discussion with the group sitting around a table. We interpreted this as a collaborative learning style or using the conceptual change model. Therefore, we developed an educational program using this teaching model. Focus group and survey data provide the subject matter basis of the educational program. The conceptual change model requires the participants to share their current food safety knowledge in a non‐threatening environment. The teacher functions as a facilitator of the discussion rather than a teacher imparting food safety knowledge. From the participants sharing current food safety knowledge, props (tools to help with implementing safe food handling practices) are used to facilitate the educational component; always starting with their current knowledge and building upon what they currently know in a discussion format. In the last part of the educational program, participants had an opportunity to apply the proper food handling practices in making a meal. During the educational program, qualitative research data was collect via video capture. Pre and post tests conducted provide quantitative data on knowledge gain and intention of behavior change.