Nutrition and Health Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version



A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Human Sciences, Under the Supervision of Professor Julie Albrecht. Lincoln, Nebraska: August, 2012

Copyright (c) 2012 Katie J. James


Children are at a heightened risk for foodborne illness. Handling leftover food safely was identified as a concern from focus groups with the main food preparer in families with young children in two Midwestern states. To design, implement, and evaluate a theory-based food safety education intervention to raise awareness of the USDA guideline for handling leftover food. The food safety social marketing campaign “4 Day Throw Away” launched in towns throughout Nebraska and Iowa. The campaign included both traditional and social media methods to relay the message of discarding leftovers after four days. A total of 600 guardians of young children participated in the study along with the 7 professionals who were involved with the development and implementation of the campaign.

Intercept surveys were conducted in 6 separate locations. Comments were extracted from the social media outlets utilized during the campaign. A process evaluation was conducted of how the team worked to develop and implement the campaign. Of the 300 participants surveyed from the test sites, 24% provided unprompted or prompted awareness of the 4 Day Throw Away campaign. Half of the participants from test locations reported throwing away leftovers 4 days or less after preparation compared to 38% from the control locations. The key strategies that emerged from the process evaluation included strong communication techniques, opportunities for personal and professional development, and clear roles and schedule of team member expectations. There continues to be a need to educate parents of young children on proper leftover food safety practices. This campaign was effective in reaching young audiences with the intended message.

Advisor: Julie Albrecht